Grana Padano is a hard, cooked cow's milk cheese made in Northern Italy. It is usually used as a grating cheese over pasta and other dishes. It was developed originally by Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle Abbey near Milan.
Grana Padano is very similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano but is a little less crumbly, more mild, and less sharp.
The Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Grana Padano is the organization that controls the quality and proper branding of Grana Padano.
You can also watch this video about how Grana Padano is made. (Video is in Italian with English subtitles.)
Where to buy
Grana Padano can be found in many of the same quality grocery stores that carry authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. Often it is slightly cheaper than its better-known cousin. The cheaper price is not a reflection of quality, however. Grana Padano is well worth trying.
You can buy Grana Padana online at amazon.com.