A hard cheese produced in Italy, in the regions of Lombardia, Emilia – Romagna, Piemonte, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto is Grana Padano.
In 1996 Grana Padano received the Protected Designation Origin status (PDO).
Three years later, in 1954, the “Consorzio tutela grana Padano”, Grana Padano Protection Consortium, was founded with the aim of protecting the entire stages of production of the cheese, as it is indicated in the Production Guidelines. The consortium is getting bigger and nowadays it includes all companies which follow the different steps of Grana Padano: the producers, the seasonal and also the authorized facilities for portioning Grana Padano PDO and the authorized facilities for packaging grated Grana Padano. All together there are 446 companies included in this consortium.
Grana Padano is a very old cheese. Its story began in the Middle-ages. At the beginning it was produced by the Monks of the Chiaravalle Abbey, called at that time in Latin Sanctae Mariae Claraevallis Mediolanensis, an abbey a few kilometers south from Milan. This cheese was called by the monks “caseus vetus”, meaning old cheese, but the people who lived in the area, which had no familiarity with Latin, decided to call it “grana”, because of the particularity of the pasta, which is compact but grainy. Afterwards it also got the name “Padano”, that means from the area of the Po river, the area where the cheese is produced.