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Olive oil, tomatoes, basil, olives, spaghetti and Grana Padano cheese

How to enjoy Grana Padano the Italian way

Grana Padano is delicious on pasta – but that’s just the start. From cheeseboards to desserts, read on to discover some of the unique ways you can enjoy this iconic cheese

It’s not often you can say an ingredient is truly an integral part of a country’s cuisine and tradition, but it couldn’t be truer of Grana Padano. With a history stretching back nearly 1,000 years and three different vintages that make it extremely handy in the kitchen, this hard cheese is an essential part of the summer for Italians – and pretty much every other season, for that matter.

And it’s easy to see why. Grana Padano is perfect enjoyed as an aperitivo or a cocktail time nibble, added to sauces and soups, grated on pasta, fish and potato dishes, and used in sandwiches, salads and savoury – and even sweet – treats. The possibilities truly are infinite.

Grana Padano cheese

What makes Grana Padano so special?

As a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, you can be sure that all Grana Padano cheese is made exclusively from partially skimmed raw milk from the Po River Valley and is produced following only traditional methods. This prestigious certification also ensures ultimate quality, authenticity and traceability.

Each wheel of Grana Padano must be aged for at least nine months, and after being tested by the Grana Padano Protection Consortium, plus an impartial third-party inspection body, the cheese receives a fire-branded mark to guarantee its quality.

The Grana Padano Riserva vintage goes on to age for 20 months – at which stage it may go through more quality tests before receiving a second fire brand. Ageing can then continue for more than 24 months for a vintage with a grainier texture and a more evolved taste and flavour that is intense, but never overpowering.

Furthermore, Grana Padano possesses unique nutritional features such as quality proteins, vitamins and mineral salts, especially calcium. It is naturally lactose free due to the characteristics of its production and long ageing process.

Of course, the proof is in the tasting. To show you just how versatile Grana Padano is, here are three recipes that will take you from your starter, right through to dessert…

Chickpea, beetroot & Grana Padano hummus

Chickpea, beetroot & Grana Padano hummus


Grana Padano adds a wonderful saltiness to this hummus, while beetroot gives it an earthy richness. Better yet, it’s so quick and simple to make!


240g pre-cooked chickpeas

400g cooked beetroot

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

100g Grana Padano, grated

sourdough bread, sliced


1 Using a food processor, blend the chickpeas, beetroot, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and most of the Grana Padano until smooth and creamy. Add a little warm water to loosen, if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl.

2 Toast the sourdough until golden, then finish the hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle over the remaining Grana Padano. Serve while the bread is still warm.

Aubergine filled with minced meat, basil & Grana Padano Riserva

Aubergine filled with minced meat, basil & Grana Padano Riserva

SERVES 4 COOK 1 hr 10 mins EASY

Elevated with Grana Padano, this aubergine dish is packed full of flavour and is ideal for when you’re in need of a sharing main


4 aubergines

olive oil

300g beef mince

100g sausage meat

2 large free-range eggs

150g Grana Padano Riserva, grated

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

500ml passata

handful of fresh basil, to serve


1 Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the aubergine lengthways into 1cm thick slices. Brush a little oil over each slice and season with salt and pepper. Next, heat a griddle or frying pan. Working in batches, griddle the aubergine slices for 3 mins on each side until cooked through and nicely charred. Transfer to a tray.

2 Add the beef mince, sausage meat, eggs and half the grated Grana Padano Riserva to a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Take a small handful of the mix and use your palms to roll into a ball. Place onto one side of an aubergine slice and fold the other side of the aubergine over the top, securing with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining aubergine slices.

3 In a non-stick pan, heat some oil. Once hot, add the garlic and fry until golden. Add the passata and cook for about 10 mins, seasoning with salt and pepper. Grease a baking dish and add 2-3 tbsp of the sauce. Add the aubergine rolls and top with the rest of the sauce and the remaining Grana Padano Riserva. Bake for 25-30 mins, until the meat is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly, then garnish with the fresh basil leaves and serve warm.

Chocolate & Grana Padano creams

Chocolate & Grana Padano creams


Believe it or not, the saltiness of Grana Padano is the perfect partner to sweet and creamy white chocolate


250g white chocolate, finely chopped

50g Grana Padano, finely grated

3 large free-range egg yolks

150ml double cream

75ml whole milk


1 Add the chocolate and Grana Padano to a large mixing bowl, then add the egg yolks to a separate bowl. Warm the cream and milk in a small pan over a medium-low heat, bringing to a near simmer.

2 Slowly pour the cream and milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then return to the pan. Cook over a low heat for 2 mins, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until thickened.

3 Using a sieve, strain the custard over the chocolate and Grana Padano and leave to stand for 2 mins, then whisk the chocolate mixture until glossy and strain into a jug. Divide evenly between six small glasses or ramekins.

4 Cover the surface of each cream with a small piece of cling film to stop a skin forming. Leave to chill in the fridge for 3 hrs, then serve with your choice of biscuits.

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