PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO GOES FOR A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD

270 wheels opened simultaneously, by hand, in Whole Foods Market stores across USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. The record attempt on 12th April.

Reggio Emilia, 10th April 2008 - Parmigiano-Reggiano could enter the Guinness World Records Book but not for the properties which make it the “King of Cheeses”, but for the rather original record attempt, on 12th April, by the American chain Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods distributor with the highest number of grocery stores in the USA.
At the company’s 270 stores (with 53,000 employees and $6.6 billion sales) throughout the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom, the same number of 24-month-aged wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano will be cracked open simultaneously, using the 5 different official knives (supplied by the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium and used in its 437 member dairies). All this in the space of half an hour, and under the watchful eyes of the Guinness World Record official judges - the universally-recognised authority for certifying those records which are published annually in a book which, since 1955, has become one of the most sold world-wide.
“Obviously, we are very proud of this original initiative”, underlines the Consortium’s Chairman, Giuseppe Alai, “above all because it is being done by a chain which is well-known for its rigorous selection of the best natural foods and for this reason has, for a long time, been linked with Parmigiano-Reggiano”. “Every year”, explains Alai, “Whole Foods Market buyers visit our production area and hand-pick the wheels they want for their chain, based on the best organoleptic profiles. They know the producers personally and, in the selected dairies, they choose the cheese and directly supervise the two-year maturation process".
“In a world of often indistinctive food products”, states Cathy Strange, the Texan company’s global cheese buyer, “we are proud to offer a real, natural work-of-art, and it is our passion for Parmigiano-Reggiano which leads us to try the noble feat of simultaneously opening 24-month-aged wheels in 270 shops. This is in addition to the many other activities we promote (tastings, pairing suggestions, recipe ideas for our shoppers) to get them to know, and appreciate, this amazing cheese".
“The idea of cracking open wheels in the traditional way with a “rock cut”, observes Giuseppe Alai, “ultimately adds to the artisan, traditional and natural history of the product and will certainly contribute to spreading its fame further across the world, which we hope will translate into increased consumption to better reward our producers’ commitment and enhance their reputation".
The “challenge” launched by Whole Foods Market will start at 15h00 EDT on 12th April and will end – as is hoped both by those taking part and the Consortium – in the Guinness World Records Book.
Also, the event is on the chain’s home page (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com), and a dedicated page (www.wholefoodsmarket.com/parmigianoreggiano), provides more detailed information, as well as a film clip showing a member of Whole Foods Market cheese-counter staff demonstrating the process of cracking the cheese wheel with a knife.

Info: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com