Grana Padano Stravecchio

The Cheese of the Month for November is one I call a "double dip cheese." You can grate it on your hot Italian dishes, enjoy it sprinkled on your salads or it will be a hero on your holiday cheese board. This hard cow's like cheese is hard because it's aged...some as long as 24 months. The aging process eliminates a lot of the moisture. This beautiful cheese hails from the Po Valley in Northern Italy.

A great pairing is much like a great relationship, one plus one equals more than two. This is the case when you enjoy Grana Padano with Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG. The cheese has a quite intense complex nuttiness along with a fruity finish. These elements certainly make a beautiful romantic couple when joined with the Nipozzano's big dark plumy fruit and its rich spiciness.

Just like prime meat, each wheel of Grana Padano Stravecchio is marked with its own serial number that guarantees the cheese's authenticity and ultimate care in the cheesemaking process.

For the holidays, a festive cheese plate can include the Grana Padano Stravecchio surrounded by dried figs; I love using dried figs cut in half with kitchen scissors. Make a ring around your chunk of cheeses with the seeded side of the fig up. You can even place a thin slice of the Grana Padano on the fig and then execute The Cheese Highway with a sip of the wine. A drizzle of sweet honey or a drizzle of Tuscan olive oil will give your guests several flavors to get delicious pleasure from.