Grana Padano cheese grater

My latest obsession:

IMG_2977I discovered this fun and wonderful toy during a dinner outing at Terroni this past weekend.  When our server brought this plastic cheese grater to our table to complement our pappardelles and tagliatelles, it was love at first sight.  I was more mesmerized with this ‘Little Grater That Could’ than my duck ragu pappardelle.  Each plastic grater comes with an 8.9 ounce block of fine 16-month aged Italian Grana Padano cheese inside, nicely packaged in plastic to keep it fresh until opened.

IMG_2978Grana Padano is an Italian hard cheese that is similar in appearance and concept to Parmigiano Reggiano, but more grainy in texture and milder in taste.  It goes with pretty much any type of bread, soup, salad, or pasta dish.  Have you ever groaned over the cumbersome task of taking a block of cheese out of saran wrap, fishing in your cabinet for a cheese grater, placing it all on a plate, bringing all of that to the table and back, then washing the sharp stainless steel grater and re-wrapping the cheese in saran wrap?  Well, this innovative yet simple contraption solves all of our woes.  It’s a self-contained cheese grating system, so all you do is take this cute cheese stand straight from fridge to table, turn the bottom part, and perfectly thin and delicate cheese ribbons come right out.

IMG_2979It’s simple, it’s compact, it’s light, it produces no mess, and it’s quite genius. It comes with an orange cover to keep the cheese fresh and moist.  It’s tall and thin, so it occupies very little space in your fridge.  It’s sturdy, so it won’t break even if you drop it.  The bottom grater is well engineered to produce consistent thin strands of fresh cheese with minimal torque.  In this day and age of expensive mechanical cooking instruments and superfluous over-the-top culinary utensils to pick, scrape, ball and inject things that we can easily do by hand, this practical and simple device is refreshing.  How in the world have I gotten this far in life without it?  My only lament is that these are made for one-time use, and the plastic container is not reusable.

It inspired me to cook Italian food today.  Home made linguini pasta with farmers market heirloom tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil…

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…was transformed into something more special with a simple twist of the wrist.

IMG_2987Although it cost me $16 at Terroni, you can buy it for $9.99 at iGourmet.com.  It’s like a new pet: you can put it in your bag and take it with you to the office.  You can travel with it.  Bring it to restaurants and sneak a few twists on your food when the server isn’t looking.  Treat it well and it will reward you with unconditional love and companionship.

Don’t be fooled by the Kraft imitation for $4.99, it’s domestic Parmesan cheese.

Random trivia:  Did you know that the whey from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese production is fed to pigs which will eventually become the famous Prosciutto di Parma ham?  Ah, the circle of life…