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grana

Pronunciation: [GRAH-nuh]

Italian for "grain," referring to any of various very hard cheeses with a granular texture, like Parmigiano-Reggiano ( parmesan), which are particularly suited for grating. This special texture is the result of long aging, which is usually anywhere from 2 to 7 years, though some (rare) cheeses are ripened up to 20 years. See also cheese.