Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Get to Know The King: Parmigiano Reggiano

Whether it’s crumbly, creamy, grassy or nutty, we love all cheeses but there’s only one that we salute as the King.

With a documented reign dating back almost 1000 years, only Parmigiano Reggiano made in one area of Northern Italy, the rolling hills and green pastures comprising Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua can bear the royal name of Parmigiano Reggiano.

There the cheese is made in small batches using artisanal methods in accordance with the stringent quality standards of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano. What makes the Parmigiano Reggiano at our stores different from that at most grocers? Each year we visit the Caseificios and select cheese wheels based on the taste profile we believe is best, buying from just a handful of producers we know personally. Then our chosen wheels are carefully aged for a full two years to bring out the best taste and texture.

And talk about taste! No really, let’s talk about it.

On February 27, at 7 pm EST, our Global Cheese Buyer Cathy Strange and healthy eating specialist Chef Derek Sarno are teaming up to cook and chat about this delectable cheese.  Watch it live online on February 27 at 7 pm EST

In fact, you can join in the fun with your own not-so-virtual cheese tasting. Just grab some balsamic vinegar, honey, walnuts, a pear or an apple and a hunk of Whole Foods Market’s Parmigiano Reggiano, tune in to our live stream and follow along. You can even submit questions along the way!

All hail the King!

Furthermore, to honor the tradition and to celebrate this beloved cheese — on Saturday March 10, at 3 p.m. EST — wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano will be simultaneously cracked and sampled at Whole Foods Markets across the US, Canada and the UK. With more than 300 stores, that’s one loud crack and a lot of cheese!

Join us for Parmigiano Reggiano samples, recipe demonstrations, food pairings and wine and beer tastings (where allowed). Some of our stores will even feature in-store “crack offs” with their cheesemongers competing against each other on cracking time and ability. (Yes, those are real things.)

Be sure to check your local store calendar to find out what time the celebration begins. If you haven’t witnessed the cracking of an 85-pound wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, what are you waiting for? Get…well you know, crackin’! Whether you make this royal event or not, visit our Parmigiano Reggiano page and take a look at this video to see this complex cheese honored in a pretty unique way.

Plus, stay tuned for recipes, pairing ideas and tasting suggestions.  

How do you pay homage to the king of cheeses?