Have you ever seen a Guinness Record set or broken?   Last weekend we randomly wandered into our local Whole Foods for some cheese and groceries to only find out that in 20 minutes our store, among 400 others nation wide were preparing to break the Guinness Record for having most Parmesan cheese wheels cracked open at the same time. Apparently, the story behind it was that Whole Foods held the record to the past several years, until Canada beat them by just a couple of wheels. Naturally, we made ourselves ( and luckily a camera) comfortable. It's not like you stumble on a new Guinness Record every day, you know.

And here is the photo-story of the Parmagedon ( as WF called it) :

^^ all set and ready with a 100lb Parmesan wheel, just waiting for the last minute countdown ^^

^^ amazingly delicious Parm itselt, though not freshly cracked yet ^^

^^ last few seconds and the cutting begins. cheese had to be cracked open in 15 minutes to go on a record. apparently, it was not as easy as one may think ^^

^^ first stabs to get into the heart of it ^^ 

^^ it's a team effort ( and some power to keep the table from tipping over) ^^

^^ and it's done! our store did it in 5 minutes! that's what team work can do for you. and some serious skill ^^

^^ delicious fresh Parmesan. it is absolutely true that once you taste fresh parm, there is no going back ^^

^^ making new friends with the team. although, they are like a family to us already. can you guess , we love cheese just a little? ^^

^^ the team that made it happen - we love them so! ^^

^^ and the beauty itself ...^^

Some fun facts about Parmesan we learned : 

 * Under Italian law, only cheese produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Mantova may be labelled “Parmigiano-Reggiano”.

 * The only additive allowed in real parmesan is salt which is absorbed by the cheese in the first 20 days of curing.

 *  Parmigiano-Reggiano is considered at its best when it is aged 24-30 months. It is still soft and crumbly, yet there are tiny crunchy spots from the crystallized salt.

 * The milk used to make real parmigiano-reggiano is whole milk from a morning milking that is mixed with the naturally skimmed milk from the previous evening’s milking (the sitting milk separates itself, resulting in a part-skim mix).

 * True parma is first tested at 12 months of age by a certified inspector. Cheese wheels are inspected with only a hammer and the inspector’s ear. They can ‘hear’ whether the cheese has undesirable cracks within its wheel.

 * The average parma wheel weighs 84 lbs.

 * Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the greatest sources of pride for Italians, going back 800 years! Each wheel is considered an expression of the cheese maker’s dedication to not only his history as a cheese conneisseur but the history of the region in which the cheese comes from.

  * Parmigiano-Reggiano is wonderful eaten in small chunks, as thin slivers, and of course, grated.

  * You don’t ever want to freeze your parmigiano-reggiano. Freezing it can destroy the subtle nuances in its flavor.

   * Because of the long, careful aging process, the milk proteins in parmigiano-reggiano are broken down making it one of the easiest milk products for humans to digest.

   * In Italy, it is common for the head of a wheel of Parmesan cheese to be used as a “serving pot.” The head is hollowed out and then filled with steaming pasta.

    * At the Parmigiano-Reggiano festival in Modena, Italy, a wheel of Parmesan cheese often sells for around 490 euros.

    * In 2008 Italy spent $65 million dollars to bail out the Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano cheese industries.
    * Parmigiano-Reggiano is made only from April 1 to November 11, with milk from cows that have been eating fresh grasses. Most of the cream is skimmed from the milk which is then cooked in copper pots, pressed in cheesecloth lined molds, then salted in brine and allowed to mature.  Parmigiano-Reggiano is the highest quality parmesan from the Parma region.

    * The name "Grana" comes from the ancient Latin word for grainy. These cheeses both contain crunchy white specks, which are actually the result of
naturally occurring free amino acids that  crystallize during aging. These crystals give Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano their distinctive, slightly
crunchy texture. They also make these cheeses easier to digest and an excellent source of energy.

    * It takes 160 gallons of premium quality, part-skim, unpasteurized cow's milk to make one 80-pound wheel of cheese.
As a result, each pound contains the concentrated nutrients of two gallons of milk.

    * "Grana" and "Regg" are excellent sources of protein,  calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, E, D and K, pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, zinc,
copper, potassium, sodium and cobalt.  In fact, these cheeses contain 18 of the body's 21 required amino acids and  contain almost 40% more nutrition
than beef.

    * A mere two-ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano satisfies 60% of an adult's daily calcium requirements.
Because they are made from part-skim milk, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano are very low in fat and cholesterol compared to almost any other
natural cheese.

    * Compared to proteins found in meat, which take four hours to assimilate, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano are digested in 45  minutes.  Athletes
include these cheeses in their post-workout diet because  eating them is a quick way to replenish lost nutrients.
    * Because of its healthy properties, many families in Italy sprinkle grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano on their baby's food.