Welcome to the realm of cheese where tradition meets innovation. Today, we’re diving into the world of American Grana, a cheese that’s challenging the Parmesan throne right here in the United States. This artisanal delight is not merely an imitation but a testament to skilled craftsmanship and a tribute to age-old cheese-making traditions.
Quick Facts About American Grana
|Origin||Crafted in Wisconsin, USA.|
|Cheese Type||Hard, aged cheese.|
|Flavor Profile||Nutty, full-flavored, slightly salty.|
|Texture||Dense and grainy.|
|Aging Time||Aged for at least 18 months.|
|Milk Type||Cow’s milk.|
|Wine Pairing||Pairs well with robust reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, and whites like Chardonnay.|
|Serving Suggestions||Grated over pasta, risotto, or salads; served on cheeseboards.|
|Similar Cheeses||Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano.|
|Awards||American Cheese Society Winner (2013).|
|Production Process||Partially skimmed raw cow’s milk is used. The cheese is then brined and aged.|
|Unique Fact||American Grana is made by one of the few Master Cheesemakers in the US.|
What is American Grana?
American Grana is a fascinating chapter in the world of cheese, bridging the gap between Old World tradition and New World innovation. This extraordinary cheese hails from Wisconsin, USA, but has its roots firmly planted in the Italian cheesemaking tradition. It’s a testament to the global appeal of fine cheeses and the ability of American cheesemakers to adapt and excel in crafting world-class products.
American Grana is a hard, aged cheese known for its dense, grainy texture and full-bodied flavor. Each bite delivers a nutty, slightly salty taste that lingers on the palate, reminiscent of its Italian counterparts, Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano. However, it’s not merely an imitation; American Grana stands proudly on its own, showcasing the skill and dedication of its creators.
The production process of American Grana involves partially skimmed raw cow’s milk, which is then brined and aged for at least 18 months. This lengthy aging period allows the cheese to develop its characteristic flavor and texture. The result is a cheese that’s equally at home grated over pasta or risotto as it is served on a cheeseboard.
What sets American Grana apart is its unique status as an American-made cheese with a decidedly Italian spirit. Crafted by one of the few Master Cheesemakers in the US, this cheese has won recognition at the American Cheese Society, further cementing its place in the pantheon of great cheeses. Whether you’re a dedicated gourmand or a casual cheese lover, American Grana is a must-try for those seeking a taste of transatlantic cheese craftsmanship.
What Does American Grana Taste Like?
American Grana is celebrated for its robust and complex flavor profile. It strikes a remarkable balance of nuttiness, sweetness, and saltiness, which comes alive in your mouth with each bite. The cheese has a rich, full-bodied taste that’s slightly salty with an underlying sweetness, a characteristic attribute of well-aged cheeses.
The initial flavor on the palate is mildly sharp, but it gradually reveals undernotes of dried fruit and hints of caramel. As you continue to savor it, you’ll notice a pleasant, buttery finish that lingers, enticing you to take another bite.
Its texture adds to the overall tasting experience. American Grana is dense and grainy, similar to Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano. When chewed, it tends to crumble a bit, releasing bursts of flavor. This complex taste and texture make American Grana a versatile cheese that can be used in cooking or enjoyed on its own.
American Grana Tasting Notes
- Flavor Profile: American Grana has a robust, full-bodied flavor that is slightly salty with an underlying sweetness.
- Initial Taste: The cheese begins with a mild sharpness on the palate.
- Developing Notes: As you savor it, the cheese reveals undernotes of dried fruit and hints of caramel.
- Finish: It ends with a pleasant, buttery finish that lingers, making each bite moreish.
- Texture: American Grana is dense and grainy. When chewed, it tends to crumble a bit, releasing bursts of flavor.
- Aging: The cheese is aged for at least 18 months, allowing it to develop its characteristic flavor and texture.
What is the Difference Between American Grana, Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano
|Feature||American Grana||Parmigiano Reggiano||Grana Padano|
|Origin||Wisconsin, USA||Parma, Italy||Po River Valley, Italy|
|Milk Type||Partially skimmed raw cow’s milk||Whole raw cow’s milk||Partially skimmed raw cow’s milk|
|Texture||Dense and grainy||Grainy and crystalline||Hard and crumbly|
|Flavor Profile||Full-bodied, slightly salty with an underlying sweetness||Nutty, savory with a hint of fruitiness||Mildly sweet, buttery and nutty|
|Aging Period||Minimum 18 months||Minimum 12 months, often aged up to 36 months||Minimum 9 months, can be aged up to 24 months|
|Uses||Cooking, grating over dishes, cheese boards||Grating over dishes, eaten on its own, cheese boards||Cooking, grating over dishes, cheese boards|
|Pairings||Robust red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, whites like Chardonnay||Full-bodied red wines, sparkling wines, fruit compote||Light red and white wines, fresh fruits|
7 Best American Grana Substitutes
|Parmigiano Reggiano||Nutty, savory with a hint of fruitiness||Hard, grainy||Grating over dishes, cheese boards|
|Grana Padano||Mildly sweet, buttery, and nutty||Hard, crumbly||Cooking, grating over dishes|
|Pecorino Romano||Salty, sharp||Hard, grainy||Grating over dishes, particularly pasta|
|Manchego||Nutty, sweet||Firm, compact||Cheese boards, cooking|
|Asiago||Nutty, slightly fruity||Semi-soft to hard, depending on age||Melting, grating over dishes|
|Gouda||Sweet, caramel-like||Semi-hard to hard||Melting, cheese boards|
|Gruyère||Nutty, slightly sweet||Firm, dense||Melting, cheese boards|
What Pairs Well With American Grana?
Food that goes well with American Grana:
|Category||Food Pairings with American Grana|
|Vegetables||Olives, Wild Mushrooms|
|Meats & Seafood||Charcuterie, Seafood|
|Cheese||Ricotta, Mozzarella, Crescenza, Provolone|
|Condiments & Spreads||Honey, Mustards, Jams & Spreads|
|Breads & Crackers||Crackers & Crisps|
|Others||Pickles, Antipasti, Roasted Potatoes|
Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
Beverage that goes well with American Grana:
|Category||Beverage Pairings with American Grana|
|Wine||Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay|
|Beer||Pale Ales, Lagers|
|Non-Alcoholic||Apple Cider, Pear Juice|
|Tea||Black Tea, Green Tea|
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