San Carlo: Grana Padano special in Birmingham

by Julie Wallis

Grana Padano at San Carlo, Birmingham

#Brumhour was invited to San Carlo Restaurant on Temple Street, Birmingham to experience the new autumn winter menu. San Carlo have teamed up with Grana Padano cheese and have come up with some very special dishes.

All the dishes were matched with some lovely wines, and it felt like a very indulgent lunch. We were greeted upon arrival with a glass of Prosecco. Once everyone was seated, we began our delightful Grana Padano journey. Starting with tasting the cheese just as it comes, we tried three different ages of Grana Padano starting with the youngest which is aged for between 9 to 16 months. Softer and less grainy than the more mature versions this is a mild, milky and delicate cheese. We then tried Grana Padano which is over 16 months old. This has a touch more colour, a grainier texture and is more crumbly when it is cut. We finished with Grana Padano Riserva which has to be over 20 months old. Once the Riserva is more than 24 months old it acquires a richer, fuller flavour.

It was only when we had finished tasting, that I realised everybody else had taken a dainty nibble whilst I cleared my cheese board! It was very nice and I am rather greedy.

Gnocco Croccante
Gnocco Croccante photo via San Carlo

On to our food and we started with Gnocco Croccante with Black Truffle. This crispy gnocchi was served with a creamy cheese sauce and had a few slices of black truffle. It was divine, and the addition of real truffle made it very indulgent, decadent even. To accompany this, we were served a lovely white wine which was the perfect choice.

Risotto Porcini Served from a Grana Padano Wheel of Cheese
Risotto Porcini Served from a Grana Padano Wheel of Cheese photo via San Carlo

We then had the Mushroom Risotto which arrived in style. As we were quite a crowd, our risotto was served inside an entire (scooped out) cheese wheel. This is a showstopping piece of theatre. The risotto not only looked great, it tasted great too. The risotto was served with a glass of rosé wine and again we enjoyed the perfect pairing.

Gnocci Grana Padano and Gorgonzola
Gnocci Grana Padano and Gorgonzola photo via San Carlo

For our final course we had Gnocci Grana Padano and Gorgonzola which was smaller gnocchi served in a cheese basket, smothered in a rich cheese sauce. This was accompanied by a glass of delightful red wine. The cheese sauce has extra flavour thanks to the inclusion of blue cheese in the sauce. Tragically I was by now too full to eat very much at all of my final course, but I did try a bit of everything on my plate.

My favourite was the gnocchi served with black truffle. Thanks to the recipe sheets we were sent away with, I shall be making this myself at home, only I will be using truffle oil as real truffles are prohibitively expensive.

We finished with coffee and some little biscuits. I did drink my espresso, I couldn’t manage any of the biscuits.

The team from Grana Padano gave an interesting talk about their cheese. From the cheese making process, to how to store it, serve it and enjoy it.

I shall be looking out for this wonderfully versatile cheese next time I shop as it can be used in cooking just like Parmigiano-Reggiano but can also be enjoyed as part of a cheese board. We all had a different take as to what the Grana Padano tasted of. I thought it was like a really good cheddar crossed with Parmigiana, but my favourite description was someone who said it “tasted of Christmas” and I understood exactly what he meant.

Find out more about Grana Padano here:

And visit San Carlo in Birmingham here:

#BrumHour was invited by San Carlo and Grana Padano to try new menu items in exchange for this blog post. This isn’t a sponsored post.