Warning: The photos in this blog post may bring on an urgent craving for nutty, salty, crumbly and perfectly savoury Parmesan cheese. Just go with it. It’s futile to resist.
Here’s a little brain teaser for you:
What do you get when you take 300 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (valued at $2,200 per wheel), over 250 participating Loblaw stores and the desire to skillfully crack them open at exactly the same time from coast to coast?
You get a Guinness World Record, that’s what.
The previous record, held by Whole Foods Inc, was 176. But on Sunday afternoon, Loblaw Companies Limited reported that 305 wheels, and counting, were cracked simultaneously.
“Today was a momentous day for Loblaw and our colleagues. It was an overwhelming experience to celebrate this achievement with our customers and colleagues at more than 250 stores; we couldn’t have done it without them,” said Metzi Liau, Senior Deli Category Director, Loblaw Companies. “Our colleagues were specially trained to crack the wheels in the traditional style upheld by Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium, and we are thrilled to have achieved this world record.”
Now it’s well known far and wide that I’m a cheesehead; in fact, given the choice to exist on chocolate or cheddar, I’d gladly take savoury over sweet. So I was tickled pink with the opportunity to experience an intimate lunch featuring dishes using Parmigiano-Reggiano created by Chef Tom Filippou (Executive Chef and National Director, President’s Choice Cooking Schools). I attended with Robin Edwards (@shopwithrobin) and we were treated to celebrity appearances (members from Italy’s Consortium of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a representative from Guinness), a detailed lesson in old school cheese-making (a method that is roughly still used to this day – you don’t mess with perfection), and of course, a tasting. Mmm… Parmigiano-Reggiano.
So what about those photos? Set you salivary glands to “drool” now –
Before I continue, I just had to share this recipe for Cheese Tortellini with Pancetta and Wasabi Arugula, our main course:
1 pkg PC Italian Diced Pancetta
1 pkg PC Cheese Tortellini
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 pkg PC Wasabi Arugula Trimmed and Washed, chopped
½ cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
In large nonstick frying pan, heat half of olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook pancetta until crispy and brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Wipe pan clean with paper towel.
In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup (250 mL) of pasta cooking water.
In same frying pan, heat remaining oil over medium-low heat; cook onion and garlic until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in drained pasta, pasta cooking water, butter, lemon rind and lemon juice until pasta is coated. Sprinkle arugula and reserved pancetta over pasta; toss to combine. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle with Parmigiano. Serve garnished with additional grated lemon rind, if desired.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard Italian cheese produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena or Bologna, using the same recipe for almost 1,000 years. #sogood
Special thanks to Loblaw Companies and Rock-It Promos for showing us a deliciously good time.
WOW! That looks amazing! I saw “the” cheese at our store, but didn’t go for the cracking ceremony. :)
Oh, it was absolutely splendid. And the cheese is so delish!
I saw our local store decorated but forgot to come back on Saturday to witness it! Looks like it was a great time, and the dishes look yummy.
The dishes were SO yummy. You can actually jump on pc.ca and grab all the recipes!
cheese crisp salad bowls? count me in!
I know, right? Sooo GOOD.
I was at my local Zehrs on Sunday after the cracking and was lucky enough to have a taste! Savoury please every time!
Nancy, we are kindred spirits :)
Mmmm all of the dishes look so good!
They were beyond delicious. I walked in there knowing I was going to have a scrumptious meal, and I wasn’t disappointed!
Salivary glands are definitely set to drool especially for the baked parmesan crisps. That is a thing of beauty!
It is!!! I will have to make it for you when you swing by next!
you had me at cheese. oh and you look fab in that sweater-dress!
Hahaha! Why thank you so much! I’ve been working on my fitness (not really, but Fergie-Ferg seemed appropriate somehow).
Parmesan crisps are so delicious! We make them like chips and have them as apps!
YES! Robin, who I attended the event with, also does that!