If you’re near any Whole Foods store in Northern California at noon April 12, you’ll want to head inside to enjoy a truly cheesy experience.
That is when the “cracking open” ceremonies will begin, as cheesemongers in each store worldwide will simultaneously demonstrate the traditional method of breaking into hefty 24-month-aged wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano using five different knives from Italy.
Yes, you read that correctly. The cheese-breaking ceremony will take place at every Whole Foods store in the world (that would be 270 of them). The process of cutting up the 85-pound wheels of cheese will take about half an hour. If you think that might be some sort of record in the making, well, Whole Foods does, too. The company will be attempting to set a Guiness World Record with the feat.
Parmigiano Reggiano has been made for centuries in one area of Northern Italy that includes Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua. These regions are the only ones with the ideal conditions to produce this cheese.
After one year of aging, each artisan-crafted wheel that passes the test is branded with a unique proof of authenticity — an oval certification mark — and left to finish aging. That seal guarantees that the cheese was made under the regulations of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano and conforms to its stringent standards of quality.
Each year, Whole Foods cheese buyers visit the region to hand select wheels for the stores. Tastings will be available at the store on April 12. Customers also can take home information on wine pairings and recipes for dishes that really highlight the cheese.
For a sneak preview of the cheese carving show, click here.