Steve Bierhals, the Master Cheesemaker responsible for crafting La Bottega di BelGioioso’s American Grana Extra Aged Parmesan is a very patient man. He has to be. This is a cheese that is aged over 24 months to achieve its’ signature flavor and texture. His favorite thing about American Grana is “there is a lot of tradition in the making of this cheese going back many, many years; especially in other countries in the world.”
It all starts with the extra rich milk that is brought in every day and is made into cheese within hours of milking. Home grown starter cultures are then added to the fresh milk. These cultures have been passed down over generations and transform the milk into its specific cheese type. Steve then waits until the curd is perfectly formed and then shapes it into what will become 65+ pound wheels of American Grana.
The young cheese is allowed to rest and any excess whey is drained from it. It is flipped daily to ensure even drying. After that, it is placed into brine tanks. This method allows for even salt distribution. The wheels of cheese are hand turned on a daily basis while soaking. Next, the aging process starts. This is where patience pays off. Steve says “This cheese is aged so long that you need to have all the right factors in its production or it will show in the finished product.” He adds, “Making this cheese is an art. It takes good milk, good cultures and good people who care and want to make a good product.”
While you might be tempted to shred this tasty cheese onto your next pasta dish or salad, we encourage you to try it on its own. We’re certain its deep nutty flavor with just a hint of salt will make it a “go to” at your next snacking session.