By Kara Rota
I was wandering around the 97th Street Whole Foods on Saturday, during my bimonthly pilgrimage for tofu spare ribs and nuts in bulk, when I came across an event: “The Crack Heard ‘Round the World.” Whole Foods stores globally cracked open 300 wheels of 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano at exactly 3 p.m. EST.
To correctly open the cheese wheel requires five different types of knives to make sure that “the internal crystalline structure and crumbly texture is left intact”. Two cheese-cutters at the West Side store raced to crack the wheel quickest; there was an anxious moment when one of the knives broke, but soon four gaping wheel halves of Parmigiano Reggiano were on the table and substantial chips handed out for the gathered crowd to sample.
Unfortunately, the crack of a cheese wheel isn’t so much an impressive, thunderous noise as it is a multi-step process ending with a dull thud, but the volunteer taste testers didn’t seem to mind.
Photos by Kara Rota.