How to recognize real Grana Padano?
It is not simple to recognize real Grana Padano for who is not born in Italy and has not been used to see it since ever. Italy is the country which every year is the most subjected to food farming forgery. Forgery is mainly about wines and cheese. In specific the phenomenon, which is called “Italian sounding”, shows the commercialization of products that have “Italian sounding” brands but that are not made in Italy.
Coldiretti has recently confirmed that in second place in the most forged italian products rank there’s Grana Padano, which in the U.S is replaced by Parmesan. As shown in a survey in U.S.A there are no doubts: two thirds of customers are victims of tricky labels.
So, today we will describe all the visible features that a real Grana Padano should have. Later we will examine all the details linked to the productive process and the origin of the raw materials. All the information come directly from the official web site of Grana Padano.
How to recognize real Grana Padano at first sight
In Grana Padana there must be:
- casein plaque: put on the flat surface of the cheese mould, it mixes with the crust. It includes the “Grana Padano” writing; the identificative codes that garantee the product track and the original place of the product; the “Garantito dal MIPAAF ai sensi dell’art.10 del reg. CE 510/2006”
- four-leaf clover: it is the brand which certificates the origin of the mould, bringing back to the surface the acronym of the county and the serial number. It includes the writing DOP that marks only regional cheese
- Lozenges: they get printed by a belt. Every lozenge, with the hatching edge, has alternately the writings “GRANA” and “PADANO”. Lozenges are repeated continuosly on the surface and cover all the edges of the mould, so it can be identified even when it’s cut in pieces.
- CE stamp: it gives you the production month and year, the factory: it is an important data for medical service
- Firebrand: it qualifies the moulds certificating the perfection to the rules expressed by the Disciplinare di produzione. So the writing DOP (Denominazione Origine Protetta) it’s legal. Without this firebrand, the cheese can’t be called or sold as Grana Padano, even when it’s grated. The brand Grana Padano was invented and patented by Consorzio di tutela. It is registred at the Berna Bureau International pour la Protection de la Propriété and it is set in Italy and it is also registred at the most important foreign countries as a collective brand with the current regolations.
- RISERVA writing: it qualifies the cheese moulds that after the fire brand has to stay 20 months for the process of aging. Also they show the following features:
- the homogeneus whitish or yellowish color;
- the absence of animal smell;
- opalescent choice;
- grain consistence.
This second firebrand is set on the edge of the moulds with same process used for the DOP brand, near the four leaves clover in front of the“GRANA PADANO” brand. Those firebrands are placed by Consorzio Tutela Grana Padano technicians.