Whole Story

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Love Cheese? Join Us for the Crack-Off

By Rebecca Joerres, April 7, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Rebecca Joerres
On Saturday, April 16th, at exactly 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) cheesemongers in our stores across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. will simultaneously crack into 372 85-pound wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano. You could say we’re trying to outdo ourselves. In 2008, with nearly 300 wheels opened at 176 Whole Foods Market stores, we set a Guinness World Record for “Most Parmigiano Reggiano Wheels Cracked Simultaneously.” This year, we’re trying to break our own record and will attempt to simultaneously crack 372 wheels. There is a real art to cracking into an 85-pound wheel of the “king of cheese.” It requires an expert hand and usually takes about half an hour using the official 5-piece knife set from Italy’s Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano. This traditional cracking method perfectly reveals Parmigiano Reggiano’s delectably crunchy crystalline internal structure. Handcrafted only in one area of Northern Italy, Parmigiano Reggiano is created by artisans in small batches from cows grazing on green pastures in rolling hills in a cool climate. The raw milk cheese – lower in fat than many since it is made from partially skimmed milk – has a unique salty crystal crunch that forms when amino acids break down in the aging process. Our stores are buzzing with anticipation for the big event. There will be Parmigiano Reggiano samples, recipe demonstrations, food pairings and wine and beer tastings (where allowed). Many of our stores will feature in-store “crack offs” with their cheesemongers competing against each other on cracking time and ability. Be sure to check your local store calendar to find out what time the celebration begins. Whether you make the cracking event or not, visit our Behind the Rind page for more information about Parmigiano Reggiano, along with recipes, pairing suggestions and much more. We hope you’ll stop by your local store for a savory sample of this powerhouse cheese! Here's a teaser of what you can expect to see in our stores:
Category: Cheese




Jake Vantiger says ...
This is gonna be awesome! Lets crack some cheese!
04/13/2011 5:58:01 PM CDT
rich s says ...
I would love to attend, any chance it will be on sale to celebrate the occasion? Couldn't make out the price at the end of the video, but it did look like 3 digits.
04/13/2011 7:09:17 PM CDT
Melinda says ...
Is this cheese made with animal rennet?
04/13/2011 7:12:47 PM CDT
Chris's Gourmet Fashion says ...
OK, I am a huge consumer of Parmigiano Reggiano --- I won't miss this - lovely!
04/13/2011 8:11:57 PM CDT
Wholehearted says ...
This is one of those times that making a wise-CRACK is a good thing, yes? The video is so full of energy, it looks like a "must be there" activity to me! Have fun and see you there!!
04/13/2011 10:47:33 PM CDT
Tamia Banks says ...
these are way cool...I have great pics of past events...I wont miss this one either!
04/14/2011 5:29:23 AM CDT
ROGER says ...
WOW! Vido was awesome, I wish I wasn't two hundred miles from your nearest store because I would love to see this being done in person. A huge cheese party. Please build a store in West Michigan.
04/14/2011 6:09:59 AM CDT
Claudia Smeriglio says ...
04/14/2011 8:40:23 AM CDT
bepkom says ...
@Melinda: Yes, Parmigiano-Reggiano is made using animal rennet.
04/14/2011 9:59:40 AM CDT
bepkom says ...
@Rich: Typically it will range anywhere between $17.99-$29.99/lb depending on the region of the US. However, keep in mind that we sell chunks of fresh cut cheese in ounces, so you'll be able to find a good size piece for under $10. Please check in at your local store to find out if they will have it on sale.
04/14/2011 10:02:34 AM CDT
Ivy says ...
Great! Will be there!
04/14/2011 10:09:42 AM CDT
Donna L. says ...
Looking forward to it! Woo Hoo!
04/14/2011 11:20:26 AM CDT
Sigfrido Cadena says ...
Please sign me up..
04/14/2011 1:09:17 PM CDT
Maria W says ...
My local Whole Foods (Campbell, CA) has Earth Day celebrations on the 23rd, but nothing listed for this Saturday on it's calendar.
04/14/2011 3:01:24 PM CDT
twocents says ...
We are on daylight savings now. Is it still at 3 pm?
04/14/2011 4:33:28 PM CDT
Carol Kerns says ...
I was in Germany when the Berlin Wall went up; I've seen Simon & Garfunkel live on stage; and now I'll be present at the cracking of a wheel of genuine Parmigiano Reggiano. It's a wonderful life! :-)
04/14/2011 10:41:33 PM CDT
bepkom says ...
@Twocents: Yes......all stores are cracking the wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano at 3 pm EST.
04/15/2011 2:34:48 PM CDT
Stephen says ...
What ended up being the recorded fast time for cracking a wheel open in half ? How many totals wheels were cracked is that the world record ??
06/26/2011 5:40:19 PM CDT