And there were samples. Mmmmm... samples.
Here's the wheel at the Whole Foods on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. This is about 80 pounds of cheese:
It looks rather regal, doesn't it? After all, Parmigiano Reggiano is the king of cheeses. This wheel was was dated February, 2009.
Here's the export stamp on the wheel. You can also see some of the dotted letters that brand the cheese.
These wheels are made from milk from single dairies. There's no wax or anything else on the outside of the cheese - it's all just cheese and technically all edible, although the rind is rather hard. It's good for stock, though, or you could toss in into a tomato sauce to flavor it, and fish it out when the sauce is done..
Here we go - starting to score the cheese:
Scoring is done. There's a nice, neat line all the way around the cheese:
The people involved in the cheese cracking had these really cool shirts. They could have made a few extra bucks selling those. A couple people asked about them. Heck, I would have bought one. Maybe next year they'll hand out a few to the onlookers. That would be cool, hmmm?
And now, stabbing the cheese with the little knives:
There's probably a fancy name for the knives. The cheese was stabbed all the way around, at intervals. You can see that the knives are pretty small, so they aren't going all the way through the cheese.
And now, it's just about ready for the cracking:
After an official countdown, the cheese was opened. It looked easy to do, but I probably would have sliced off an appendage or dropped the wheel on my foot if I was doing this:
And here's the inside of the cheese:
It was mentioned that not many people get to sample a wheel that's been freshly cracked. It's not like the cheese is going to go bad quickly, but I think it might have been slightly moister than other parms I've had.
And that's it. The cheese was wheeled away to be portioned for sale.