Whole Foods Market reclaimed the Guinness World Records title for the most Parmigiano Reggiano wheels simultaneously cracked.
On March 9 at 3 p.m. EST, stores across the US, UK and Canada cracked wheels before cheering fans, earning the title for 426 wheels cracked. The grocer first set the Guinness World Record in 2008.
"The excitement around Parmigiano Reggiano is palpable in our stores and goes well beyond our cheesemongers and Certified Cheese Professionals," said Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market. "Each year, our shoppers look to Whole Foods Market not only for the highest quality Parmigiano Reggiano, but also for an exciting event where they can witness the talent of our cheesemongers and taste the difference of a freshly cracked wheel of cheese hand-sourced from Parma."
The events at each store ranged from face-offs between cheesemongers and tasting events highlighting the flavors of Italy, to plays on this year's theme, "Parmageddon," featuring zombies and astronauts. Each event had one element in common — Whole Foods Market Team Members who were passionate about Parmigiano Reggiano and eager to crack their wheels at exactly 3 p.m. EST to help the grocer reclaim the title. Some cheesemongers cracked their 85-lb wheels in under a minute.
"Guinness World Records is thrilled to congratulate Whole Foods Market on their accomplishment for the 'Most Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheels cracked simultaneously at multiple venues.' This type of multiple venue, mass participation record requires spirit, organization and precision; many kudos to all the participants involved," said Jamie Panas, Guinness World Records public relations manager.
Each year, the grocer's cheese buyers travel to the Parma region in Italy to visit authentic producers and select wheels based on the highest quality flavor profile. Those wheels are then carefully aged 24 months to achieve the toasted, salty and nutty flavor and subtle crystal-like texture that identifies a superior wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano.