Grana Padano Week At L’Anima

Squashed into a blistering hot kitchen on a really hot summers day is not my idea of fun but watching 2 hot chefs up close cook a couple of spectacular dishes really was.

Francesco Mazzei and Davide Oldani

The two hot Italian Chefs were Francesco Mazzei or L’Anima in The City and Davide Oldani of the One Star Michelin Restaurant D’O. They are both Ambassadors for London’s first Grana Padano Week.

Davide is the creator of Cucina Pop, where he uses mainly seasonal ingredients and serves his food on his specially designed crockery and eaten with his specially designed cutlery. His restaurant is Milan is probably the only one in Europe where you can get a meal for less than €20.

Davide cooked a light fluffy souffle gnocchi made with 18 months old Grana Padano sauce with Romano lettuce and spicy sultanas. The finished dish looked simple but had several layers of unexpected flavours like the spicy kick from the sultanas (saoaked in a syrup with chilli flakes) and the crispy fried fregola sprinkled on top. The gnocchi is piped into a pot of boiling water and then lightly pan fried.

Grana Padano Week Davide Oldani

Roasted gnocchi with 18 month old Grana Padanao sauce, Romana lettuce and spicy sultanas
Roasted gnocchi with 18 month old Grana Padanao sauce, Romana lettuce and spicy sultanas

Francesco’s dish was one of fat juicy diver scallops with Grana Padano Riserva, salsa verde spiked with spicy N’Duja and crispy Senise peppers. All this was arranged on a piece of greaseproof paper, fried briefly and then finished off under the grill, where the nduja melted into the scallops.

The selection of ingredients was simplicity itself but when combined, the different textures from the soft scallops lightly bathed in the melted spicy oil of the nduja topped with crispy sage leaves and fried peppers worked to create a delighful mouthfu.

Grana Padano Week Francesco Mazzei

Grana Padano Week London
Charcoal diver scallops with N’duja, Grana Padano Riserva and crispy Senise peppers

In an abrupt turnaround in style, a beautiful dish of home cured hake appeared, served cold. The soft tangy hake, a corner of the Grana Padano crisp and a smear of tomato was a delightful contrast to the previous dishes and yet another clever way of using this versatile cheese.

Home curted hake with candied figs, tomato emulsion, Grana Padano Riserva crisps and tarragon
Home cured hake with candied figs, tomato emulsion, Grana Padano Riserva crisps and tarragon

Grana Padano was used in the puddings too, 18 month old Grana Padano, lightly smoked, served with bread & pear and the M’pligliati below.

Grana Padano Week London -M'pigliati with Grna Padano Riserva and figs mosto cotto
M’pigliati with Grna Padano Riserva and figs mosto cotto (note the beautiful caramelised hazelnut)

About Grana Padano 

  • Grana Padano was invented by Benedictine monks in Lombardy about 1000 years ago as a way to use up milk that could not be drunk right away.
  • Grana Padano is  the world’s best selling PDO product
  • Grana Padano Cheese gets its name from its grainy texture   i.e. ‘formaggio di grana’ and the area where it is made ‘La Pianura Padana’ (the Po Valley) in Northern Italy
  • It takes almost twenty six and a half pints of raw partially skimmed milk to produce a kilogram of Grana Padano Cheese.
  • 50 grams of Grana Padano Cheese contains 600 milligrams of calcium, which is 60% of an adult’s daily requirement.
  • There are three different vintages of the cheese: Grana Padano (aged between nine and 16 months), Grana Padano ‘over 16 months,’ and Grana Padano ‘RISERVA’ (over 20 months).
  • This cheese can be eaten on its own or in any recipes that calls for Parmesan.

L’Anima is one of the best Italian Restaurants in London and if you haven’t been I urge you to go.  I have dined here several times and the food has been sensational every time. Despite the cool white interiors of the decor, the warm service is pure Southern Italian hospitality. The Restaurant and Francesco deserves much more recognition in the foodie world.

1 Snowden Street,
London EC2A 2DQ
020 3463 7528

You can find out more about Davide Oldani and his Cucina Pop philisophy at

L'Anima on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Eat Cook Explore was a guest of Grana Padano.

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