The vintage Italian cheese you need for Christmas
Entertain in true authentic Italian style this festive season with a little help from Grana Padano.
No Christmas feast is complete without cheese – and one that deserves a spot on your shopping list this year is Grana Padano. The world’s best-selling PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese, Grana Padano is recognised and protected by the Italian State and European Union, so you can be confident of its quality, authenticity and traceability. For the ultimate Christmas Day canapé, use it in gattò – southern Italian savoury cakes – with the tempting recipe below.
Grana Padano comes in three different vintages. One is aged between 9 and 16 months, another more than 16 months and Grana Padano Riserva more than 20 months. The latter also undergoes further quality testing and is emblazoned with the famed Riserva fire-branding.
These different lengths of maturation give a variation of notes and flavours, allowing the delectable cheese to complement a wide variety of recipes and wines. The younger Grana Padano is mild and creamy, but the older the cheese gets, the more developed and richer a taste it has. When serving Grana Padano on a cheeseboard, it goes wonderfully with mostarde (Italian fruit chutneys), honey, grapes and nuts, like pickled walnuts.
Surprisingly, Grana Padano’s production and ageing processes make it lactose-free, and just 30g of the cheese offers the same nutrition as a pint of milk. Naturally high in protein, it also contains iron, vitamins A, B2 and B12 and minerals such as zinc and calcium (50g of Grana Padano contains 60% of the calcium RDA for an adult).
Try Grana Padano for yourself this Christmas and impress your guests with Italian chef Francesco Mazzei’s quick and easy smoked salmon gattò recipe.
Mini smoked salmon and Grana Padano gattò
Hands-on time 20 minutes, cooking time 20-25 minutes
500g potatoes, roughly but evenly chopped
100ml whole milk
100g Grana Padano Riserva, grated
200g Fior de Latte mozzarella, chopped
150g smoked salmon, chopped
2 tbsp chives, chopped
You’ll also need…
12 small ovenproof bowls or ramekins
1 Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C/gas 4. Put the potatoes in a large pan with a pinch of salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until soft, then drain. Add the milk and mash until smooth. Add the nutmeg and half the Grana Padano and combine to make a smooth purée.
2 Grease 12 small ovenproof bowls or ramekins with half the butter and line with half the breadcrumbs. Spread mashed potato inside the bowls, then layer with the mozzarella, Grana Padano and smoked salmon (keeping some for decoration). Top with the remaining mashed potato and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon so the surface is flat.
3 To serve, top with the remaining smoked salmon and chives.
Get prepared for Christmas and stock up now at Grana Padano.