Grana Padano is a traditional, co-operative, unpasteurized, hard cheese. The smooth, natural rind is extremely hard and thick. This cheese is known to many of us as simply "Parmesan" but it is a much more mild flavored and less costly cheese than Parmigiano-Reggiano. The cheese should taste fresh fruity and sweet, with a hint of pineapple. The pale, yellow interior should be hard, grainy and crumbly. If the cheese has large cracks it is probably old, don't buy it. Grana Padano freezes very well. It ripens in 12 -48 months.
Use Grana Padano as a grating cheese over pastas or in salads.
Look for this in most cheese shops, Trader Joes, or even Whole Foods Market. You may even find it in your well-stocked grocery store. You can also purchase it online at Amazon.com: Grana Padano Aged +18 months
If you don't have Grana Padano you can substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano in recipes or on a cheeseboard. Alternatively you can substitute: