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: