D.O.P. cheeses: the aristocratic Parmesan and Raspadüra

by Greta Contardi


Their prestige in the world culinary scene, their delicacy and also several attempts to imitate them: these are some of the elements two cheeses have in common, in particular the meticulousness of their production.

Both have popular roots in the Middle Ages.

Then, over time they achieved many recognitions in the field of gastronomy, such as the protected designation of origin.

There are specific use of these cheeses with interesting origins. To celebrate Grana Padano, let’s introduce a particular variation called Raspadüra, considered ‘street cheese’. It is a typical product from Italian food tradition, in particular in the Lombardy region, but it can be found in the areas of Lodi, Cremona, Pavia and Milano.

This version of Grana Padano was born from a particular use of the cheese. In the past, within the sixth month of maturing, the Grana wheels were checked to verify their solidity. Those found to be defective were then cut in half and sold at a low price to peasants or peddlers, to rasp them and sold Raspadüra  at open-air markets.

Raspadüra has to be served at the moment the customer asks for it. It consists in obtaining very thin phyllo duff of cheese rasping on the surface of the young Grana wheel using a flexible blade. In colder months this blade can be heated to obtain a kind of curl on the sheets of cheese. The Grana wheels leans on a lathe turning the wheel on itself.

Even today in some villages in Lodi area, during weekly market or seasonal country festival, you can watch the process of ‘raspada’, the scrape of  young Grana Padano wheels.

It was born as a poor dish, then Raspadüra has been reconsidered thanks to its excellent features. In fact, it has become protagonist of precious and sophisticated dishes.

Today we can rediscover it as a delicious and gourmet food, so much so that, unlike in the past, it is obtained from high quality Grana wheels.

You can enjoy it in purity, mix it with hot and rustic polenta or even better on a risotto, in which the cheese will melt in, absorbing its flavour. For a more practical use, the cheese can simply be used to make a sandwich or to combine a plate of cuts. The perfect combination would be a glass of white dry wine D.O.C. from the nearby San Colombano hills.

You can also enjoy it even walking around. That’s why Raspadüra is considered a perfect street and finger food in which ancient is harmonically combined with modern.

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