This is a hard, slow-ripened, semi-fat cheese from Italy, comparable to Parmigiano Reggiano or "parmesan" cheese. Grana Padano has had protected designation of origin status since 1996. It is made from milk that comes from the Po River valley.
The name comes from the Italian word grana ("grain"), which refers to the distinctively grainy texture of the cheese, and the adjective Padano, which refers to the valley Pianura Padana.
Grana Padano is one of the world's first hard cheeses, created nearly 900 years ago by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle Abbey, founded in 1135 near Milan. It can last a long time without spoiling, sometimes aging up to two years.