We just received a wheel of some delicious Grana Padano. If you’re not familiar with this cheese, just think a milder, more coarse Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s even a bit sweeter than it’s big brother. Grana Padano is not well known in North America and the UK, because Parmesan is the one that has been marketed to consumers as the one to use all the time. In fact, however, Grana outsells Parmesan 10 to 1 in Italy. Italians use it for everyday cooking, reserving the more expensive Parmesan for particular dishes or occasions or for use as a finishing cheese. Parmesan, in fact, didn’t get its start until 200 years after Grana, and it was a copy of Grana.
If you’re looking for something that won’t overpower that specialty dish you’re working on but has similar flavor and characteristics, try Grana Padano, just $12.99/lb. which is about $7 cheaper a pound than Parmigiano Reggiano.