If like us you’ve slipped off the wagon occasionally now January is about to end then no doubt you’ll have found your self tucking into some of your favourite treats. For me it’s cheese, charcuterie and a glass of red. When we were approached by Proscuitutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano to review their delicious produce, I was overjoyed. There are only so many calories you can count in one day anyway !
The proscuitutto and cheese arrived and the cheese even had its own little cheese knife. We unpacked them almost immediately..
The Proscuitutto di San Daniele is a completely natural food product and the only one produced in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, just outside of San Daniele which is in the province of Udine. There are no additives or preservative and is sole made from the pigs in the area and sea salt. Making this unique proscuitutto has been handed down from generation to generation. There are very strict laws about producing it and the hams must reach San Daniele completely fresh without any intervention. Each ham is then processed and hung for maturity for at least 13 months. The proscuittuto was absolutely delicious, sweet and with a beautiful rounded flavour. You can taste the care that has gone into making this product. We simply ate it on its own so that we could enjoy the flavour to the full.
Next the Grana Padano. Grana Padano is what you might call a venerable cheese since it was first made a good 900 years ago by the Cistercian monks of the Chiaraville Abbey near Milan. The Abbey was founded in 1135 and by 1475 their cheese was regarded as one of the finest in Italy, alongside the famous Parmigiano Reggiano of Emilia-Romagna, which it quite closely resembles and which is made using a similar process.
Like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Podano is a semi-fat hard cheese which is cooked and ripened slowly for at least nine months. It does not spoil easily, lasting for up to two years. To make the cheese, the cows are milked twice a day (evening milk being skinned and added to morning milk). and the partly skimmed milk is poured into copper kettles and left to coagulate. The curd is then cut into rice grain size granules which gives the cheese its characteristic texture. It is then warmed to 53–56 °C (127–133 °F). The cheese is produced year round but is only stamped with the Grana Padano trademark if it passes stringent quality tests.