Have you ever heard of the term "cracking a wheel" when it comes to cheese? Neither had I until I stumbled into a Whole Foods event that attempted to break the Guinness World record by simultaneously "cracking" 500 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano from stores across the nation. You might be wondering if they did it. But if you're like me, you're more curious about how the cheese tasted.
As it turns out, you don't simply just crack a wheel open. It's actually a skilled practice requiring an assortment of tools to get that just-so crumbly texture we all know and love — and you thought cracking open a coconut was hard!
Once opened, the first thing I noticed was the aroma. That unmistakable salty air of Parmigiano that you can seemingly taste. I grabbed a couple crumbly chunks that were shaved off the wheel and then I grabbed a couple more.
I've never had Parmigiano Reggiano freshly cracked off the wheel before, and it definitely had more of that characteristic nutty flavor it is known for. Because the cheese had not yet to had the chance to oxidize, the flavors were slightly more intense — and more delicious.
Now I'm curious to see what I'm missing with other fresh cheeses, but first how about one more slice of fresh Parmigiano for the road.
*The Guinness Book of World Records is still confirming the record, but at least 550 wheels of Parmiggiano were cracked that day
Chris Perez is the Founding Editor of Citygram Austin Magazine.
He is an engineer and freelance writer / photographer based out of Austin, TX. He loves sharing stories about art, culture, food, and technology.
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