Bruschetta with Caramelised Pears and Grana Padano Riserva: the perfect appetizer recipe for a summer Italian aperitivo with friends!

Nothing screams summer aperitivo quite like Italian bruschetta. And I’m here to show you another fantastic way to top your bruschetta, besides the classic tomato recipe.

*This post is sponsored by Grana Padano and Prosecco DOC. All opinions are my own.*

Caramelised pears and flavourful Grana Padano Riserva are the perfect combination, offering a sophisticated note to this traditional down-to-earth Italian appetizer.

What is Italian Aperitivo?

If you’re not familiar with it, aperitivo is the Italian tradition of pre-dinner drinks accompanied by cicchetti (Italian tapas-style snacks), which are designed to “open” the palate.

Aperitivo gives you a chance to relax, nibble and chat with friends whilst you wait for dinner time.

Table with a woodboard with Grana padano cheese pieces on the left,, woodboard with bruschetta with caramelised pears on the right, 2 pears on the back, lady holding a bruschetta in one hand and a glass of prosecco into the other toasting with another glass of prosecco. Prosecco bottle and wheel of grana padano cheese next to the lady.

To me, there’s nothing better than hosting an aperitivo at home! It’s definitely one of the most fun Italian experiences you can recreate, wherever you are.

All you need is one or more friends, a bubbly bottle of prosecco and some delicious food, and you’re good to go!

Caramelised Pears and Grana Padano Riserva: The Perfect Combination

An old Italian proverb says: “God never made a better marriage than that of pears and cheese” and it couldn’t be more true. 

The flavour of pears is brought to the next level when combined with cheese.

Each pear variety has unique characteristics and flavour profiles, so choose them wisely.

For my bruschetta I opted for the Italian Santa Maria pears, which are just sweet enough and have a fragrant flavour note. They also have a firm pulp, so when you caramelize them, they won’t fall apart.

If you can’t find the Santa Maria variety, you can easily substitute them with the English Williams variety, which are similar in terms of flavour and texture.

For the cheese, you can’t go wrong with Grana Padano Riserva, they were just meant to be together.

Bruschetta with Caramelised Pears & Grana Padano Riserva on a wood board, in the background wheel of grana padano cheese, cheese knife and two pears.

Grana Padano is a hard, Italian cheese made in Northern Italy, which is almost a thousand years old and it’s the world’s best-selling PDO cheese.

It is a Protected Designation of Origin product (PDO), which means that it is exclusively produced in particular regions in Northern Italy (Pianura Padana, Po River Valley).

Once matured for nine months all Grana Padano wheels are examined and if they pass the quality tests, they are fire-branded with a mark that guarantees the quality.

It takes 15 litres of naturally semi-skimmed milk (from the production area, in the Po River Valley), to produce a kilo of Grana Padano.

This unique cheese has great nutritional qualities and contains a high concentration of vitamins, proteins and minerals.

It’s also completely carbohydrate-free and lactose-free, which is an added bonus for people who have a lactose intolerance.

For my bruschetta recipe with caramelised pears, I opted for the Grana Padano Riserva, which is the ideal aperitivo snack due to its delicious flavour.

It has a fragrant yet delicate taste with notes of butter, hay and dried fruit. And as I said earlier, it pairs incredibly well with caramelised pears. Add some crunchy toasted bread and you have the bruschetta of your dreams.

How To Make Bruschetta with Caramelised Pears and Grana Padano Riserva

The recipe for my bruschetta with caramelised pears and Grana Padano Riserva couldn’t be easier.

Bruschetta with Caramelised Pears and Grana Padano Riserva on a wood board, scattered sage leaves around and two pears on the top left side

It takes about 15 minutes to put together, and all you need is 6 simple ingredients:

  • Pears
  • Honey
  • Butter
  • Sage leaves
  • Fresh rustic ciabatta or baguette bread
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • Grana Padano Riserva

Once you have all the ingredients at hand, place the honey and butter in a skillet. Allow the butter to melt, then add the pears and let them caramelise for about 7-10 minutes.

In the meantime, cut the bread into thick slices, brush them with extra-virgin olive oil, and grill them until golden on both sides.

Now, it’s time to assemble your bruschetta.

Place the caramelised pears over the crunchy bread slices and top with shaves of Grana Padano Riserva.

Sprinkle some freshly chopped sage leaves on top of your bruschetta and you’re done!

What’s The Best Drink To Go With This Bruschetta?

For the perfect aperitivo, serve your bruschetta with a bottle of classic Italian Prosecco DOC.

Prosecco DOC can be labelled as Brut, Extra Dry or Dry depending on the levels of residual sugar content.

I opted for the Prosecco DOC sparkling Brut, because this wine perfectly pairs with this aperitivo.

Remember to serve your Prosecco cold (at a temperature between 6°C and 8°C) and in tulip-shaped glasses, for the best experience.

More Aperitivo Recipes You’ll Love:

If you’re looking for extra ideas for your aperitivo time, make sure to check these other awesome aperitivo recipes:


Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook or share your thoughts on Grana Padano Facebook page! Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*! 


Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Bruschetta with Caramelised Pears & Grana Padano Riserva

Bruschetta with Caramelised Pears and Grana Padano Riserva: the perfect appetizer recipe for a summer Italian aperitivo with friends!

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time13 mins
Course: Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: aperitivo, appetiser, bread, brunch, bruschetta, cheese, pears
Servings: 4


  • 1 ciabatta bread
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pears (Santa Maria or Williams variety)
  • 60 ml honey
  • 60 gr butter
  • 60 gr Grana Padano Riserva
  • 3 sage leaves finely chopped


  • Peel and core the pears and slice them into wedges.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-low heat, add in the butter and honey and allow the butter to melt. Fold in the pears and cook, turning them often, until they're tender and caramelised.
  • Cut the bread into thick slices and brush them with extra-virgin olive oil on both sides.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat, add in the bread slices, and toast them for about 2 minutes on both sides until crunchy and golden on top. Remove the bruschettas from the skillet and set aside.
  • Remove the pears from the skillet and add a couple of wedges on each bruschetta bread. Top each bruschetta with shaves of Grana Padano Riserva, sprinkle some sage leaves on top and serve.
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The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.