Monday, 26 November 2012

Product Review : Prosciutto di San Daniel and Formaggio Grana Padano


The authentic taste of Prosciutto di San Daniele and Formaggio Grana Padano can be traced back to traditional Italian recipes handed down from generation to generation and to meticulous quality control


The location of Friuli in the Northern Italian Province of Udine, where cold northern winds from the Alps and warm breezes from the Adriatic Sea meet, is the home of the air-cured Prosciutto di San Daniele.

In a tradition that can be traced back to ancient times, only pigs from ten Italian regions are used for the production of Prosciutto di San Daniele, being carefully selected by pedigree and weight.

The thighs are carefully chosen, and the meat salted by hand with coarse salt.  It is pressed giving it its elongated violin shape with the weight of the prosciutto's.  After resting for three months the prosciutto is washed, brushed off and left to dry.

This is when the micro-climate of San Daniele comes into play, with the breezes from the Adriatic Sea travelling up along the rivers and mixing with the cold Alpine mountain air in creating a fairly dry climate with gentle winds ideal for ageing meat.  It then takes 13 months of this meticulous air-curing before the prosciutto is finally considered worthy of being controlled and then branded with the San Daniele mark.

Only now Prosciutto di San Daniele will be allowed to take its place in some of the finest food halls and discerning high street outlets in the world.  Its creamy texture and sweet taste making it a delicious antipasto, a succulent companion to fruit, or even fresh spring vegetable.

Take a look at these two websites:   and


Nearly 1000 years ago, the Cistercian monks from the fertile Po Valley, in Northern Italy, developed an original recipe to use the excess milk produced in the area.  It is thought to have been first made in the Abbey of Chiarvalle in 1135.  Due to the grainy structure, so different from all other cheeses, it was given the name "GRANA".

Today the production method has hardly changed.

Strict dairy farming practices, including a special cattle diet, results in a milk of unique flavour and nutritional value.  Only raw semi-skimmed milk from the Grana Padano production area can be used.  After natural separation of the cream, the milk is poured into traditional copper vats and then processed: a natural whey started, deriving from the previous day cheese-making, is added along with pure calf rennet.  Once the coagulation has occurred, the curd is chopped into small grains by the aid of a manual instrument called "spino", Heating to 53ºC follows and then, after a resting period of around an hour, the twin fresh wheels of cheese are collected, wrapped in linen cloths and placed into moulds.  Finally, before the ageing process begins, the wheels are soaked in brine for around 23 days.

The ageing process lasts for a minimum of 9 to over 24 months.  At 9 months, each wheel is carefully tested for appearance, aroma and texture.  This important step is carried out exclusively by the impartial expertise of the Consorzio Tutela Grana Padana (Protection Consortium) technicians.  Only the best wheels receive the fire-branded logo officially grading them "GRANA PADANO" PDO Cheese.

Rich in nutrients and very digestible, it is an excellent and healthy choice for the whole family. Grana Padano possesses unique nutritional features such as quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, salts and especially calcium.

The website for Grana Padano:


Both Prociutto di San Daniele and Formaggio Grana Padano bear the PDO (Protected Designationof Origin) status awarded to them by the European Union.

When you see the PDO logo on the packaging you can be sure the production, processing and preparation of the food you are buying, has been certified and is of the highest quality.  Do, don't just take my word for the authenticity of Prosciutto di San Daniele and FormaggionGrana Padano, look for the PDO logo, and enjoy some of the finest food Italy can produce.

Source: Fine Food Digest


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