As mentioned in Joyce’s earlier post, we were made aware of the event put up by Whole Foods. On February 27th, all Whole Foods stores in Canada, the US, and the UK cracked a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano at each location. I witnessed the spectacle at the Whole Foods store near Cambie and 8th Avenue.
Sean, the guy who brutally broke the 40 KG cheese in half, explained to the shoppers and me (since I wasn’t there to shop) the uniqueness of this cheese. A local opera singer was there to serenade the legendary cheese. Did you know that Parmigiano is actually lactose-free? I am not sure if this also applies to the domestic or the under-aged ones, but for the real 24-month aged stuff from Northern Italy, it’s supposed to be the case. Sean also mentioned that the Parm made from milk in Spring and Summer is better as the fresh grass tends to give the cheese a slight sweetness.
As 12pm approached, Sean inserted three knives into the cheese (I told you he was brutal). And, we waited. A few minutes later, the cheese wheel simply separated down the middle by itself. All Sean had to do was to pull the halves apart. I was quite surprised how easy it was. Apparently this is due to the crystal texture of the cheese. Once this is all done, he offered samples from the heart of the wheel – the best part of the cheese.
My favourite way of enjoying Parmigiano besides putting it on pasta, in risotto, and in polenta is to have it with some really good honey. The saltiness of the cheese is a good combination with the floral honey. Parm and pears is also a good combo.
I give my props to Whole Foods for putting on the event and celebrating Parmigiano-Reggiano. Perhaps, it could even become a Parmigiano festival. Wouldn’t that be something? Parm is somewhat being taken for granted as there is so much imitated parmesan cheese around. For most people, they associate Parm with the plastic containers that they come in. Rather sad, I suppose.
So far as I know, Whole Foods’ application for Guinness World Record is being processed. I hope they get it. In either case, who cares. The cheese is great.