Grana Padano is a hard, slow-ripened, semi-fat cheese, made from cows’ milk produced in the Po River valley, in the North of Italy, with a maturing time from 9 months up to two years. It is one of the world’s most ancient hard cheeses, created about 900 years ago, and it has had protected designation of origin (PDO) status since 1996. Only the original has the fire-branded Grana Padano trademark on its skin. While comparable to Parmigiano Reggiano, it is less crumbly, milder and less complex in taste. It is also less expensive, because its production area is bigger and production rules less selective. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals, naturally lactose free and is often used as a typical table cheese, or as a snack or grated to top your pasta dishes.