I'm in Milan, Italy this week for Eurocucina, the big European kitchen trade show. At my first real Italian lunch after landing, I noticed the Parmesan dish that the server brought to the table. It looked just like this, with a little metal loop for carrying and pulling the dish around on the table, and an easy open lid to let you get at the Parmesan inside.
This is a great little dish for anything you want to store on the countertop - be it Parmesan, salt, sugar or spices. (Alton Brown uses one too!)