With a documented history dating back almost 1,000 years, only cheese made in one area of Northern Italy - the rolling hills and green pastures that comprise Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua - can bear the Parmigiano Reggiano name. There the cheese is handcrafted in small batches to meet the high quality standards of Italy's Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, who have been preserving the tradition and integrity of the cheese for centuries. Ever wonder what makes Whole Foods Market's Parmigiano Reggiano so special? Our regional buyers and I travel to Italy to hand-select the farms and the months of production with the best flavor profiles and meet face to face with the handful of small producer partners we know personally. The wheels we choose are aged for at least 24 months for the best flavor and texture before we bring them to our stores for you. Check out my "Cheese Travels" video blog below to get an inside look at how these 85-pound wheels are made.To pay our rightful homage to this Italian heavyweight, we are hosting a full-blown, company-wide celebration starring Parmigiano Reggiano for the entire month of February! Thanks to the support of Buonitalia®, the Consorzio del Formaggio de Parmigiano Reggiano, Forever Cheese and the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentarie e Forestali®, we'll be hosting a celebration that's truly fit for the "king of cheese." This month of merrymaking - ripe with in-store tasting events and contests, food and wine pairings (where allowed) and recipe sharing - will end with a grand slam "Parmigiano Reggiano cracking" ceremony on Saturday, February 27 at exactly 3 p.m. EST. As the clocks strikes on the hour, cheesemongers in Whole Foods Market stores across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. will attempt to simultaneously crack open more than 300 wheels of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. Now that's a lot of cheese! Hope you'll join us. Visit our Behind the Rind page for more information about this wonderful cheese along with recipes, pairing suggestions and much more.