Grana Padano PDO 16-20 months


Grana Padano PDO 9-16 months and PGI Modica chocolate (50%) with orange peel

Modica chocolate is produced according to a special recipe with basic ingredients such as bitter cocoa paste and sugar crystals that give it its typical and easily recognisable grainy texture.
Thanks to its unexpected brittleness, Modica chocolate offers pleasant sensations when it is chewed: its ‘coarse’ and uneven structure means that the bitterish and roasted notes brought by the cocoa and the sweet notes slowly released by the sugar crystals alternate in the mouth.

Here, we have decided to pair Grana Padano PDO 16-20 months with chocolate from Modica flavoured with small pieces of candied orange peel. This ingredient, characterised by fresh citrus, dried fruit and exotic aromatic notes, together with cocoa and sugar, is not only capable of supporting the characteristics of Grana Padano PDO 16-20 months, but also of enhancing the more delicate aromas of butter and cooked milk.
The combination is also very apt from a structural point of view, since the granularity of the 16-20 month Grana Padano PDO shaving (which is still not too coarse) comes to life in an alternating interplay with the sugar crystals: in this case, the cheese is the ‘soft’ component, contrasting with the ‘dominant’ structure of the chocolate.
In conclusion, this is a combination in which the citrusy freshness of the candied fruit accompanies and complements the more decisive hints of Grana Padano PDO; neither product loses out, but rather, they are mutually enhanced.

Curious facts:

  • · Depending on the percentage of cocoa used, Modica chocolate is defined as follows:
    – Dark Modica chocolate (from 50% minimum up to 75%)
    – Extra dark Modica chocolate (between 75% and 85%)
    – Extra bitter Modica chocolate (between 85% and 95%)
    – Pure Modica chocolate with over 95% cocoa content
  • The first version of chocolate that would later take the name ‘Modica’ was made in 1519 thanks to the Spanish who imported the first cocoa beans to Sicily. On that occasion, the Spanish introduced – in what was then called the ‘County of Modica’ – the ancient Aztec customs of cocoa processing. In 1880, Francesco Bonajuto, following the ancient processing method, opened the first confectionery business specialising in the production of Modica chocolate.
  • Modica chocolate is still produced today using the ancient Aztec technique, which entails cold processing without the ‘conching’ stage: the cocoa mass is processed at a ‘low temperature’ (between 35°C and 45°C) with the addition of caster sugar which, being unable to melt, creates the characteristic ‘roughness’ in the mouth.

Grana Padano PDO 16-20 months and Dark chocolate 70% cocoa

For the right compromise, but above all for those who love tradition, we suggest combining Grana Padano PDO 16-20 months with a bar of dark chocolate (70% cocoa) with a strong flavour but a non-invasive bitterish taste.
For those who dare to experiment, we also invite you to seek out and purchase a single-varietal chocolate with the ‘criollo’ type of chocolate from Venezuela. This cocoa is characterised by a rich aromatic spectrum capable of releasing slight hints of melted butter and dried fruit in the mouth, accompanied, in some cases, also by delicate aromas of lightly spiced vanilla.
Throughout the entire pairing, this chocolate and Grana Padano PDO 16-20 months maintain their own identity in a pleasant interplay of alternating bitter and buttery notes; even after swallowing – at the aftertaste level – the bitter component of the cocoa follows and alternates with the salty component of the Grana Padano PDO shaving in an intriguing manner. From a structural point of view, the melting chocolate envelops and pleasantly accompanies the Grana Padano PDO characterised by its typical granularity. In conclusion, this is a successful combination that enhances the flavour of both products.