Get a Cheese Wheel for Your Holiday Party
Guests will remember you as the person who introduced them to ultra fresh parmigiano-reggiano.
In our 2015 holiday gift guide, we included a wheel of parmigiano-reggiano weighing in at 40 kilograms (or 88 pounds). It’s a gift that is a little outside the box, unless you give it to yourself and think of it as a communal experience or an element of an excellent holiday house party.
The wheel is sold at the Italian Centre Shop in Fairmount. If you have been there, you have seen its temperature controlled wall of cheese where these wheels of parmigiano-reggiano are stored. They are the real deal. The wheels stamped DOP by the Government of Italy are the ones you are after. The amount of that particular kind of cheese allowed into Canada is tightly controlled by cheese quotas. Similar to how Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, for example, this parmigiano-reggiano can only be made in the Italian provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia as well as smaller sections of surrounding provinces. Each wheel is made from 591 litres of milk that comes from cows raised in that region and grass-fed at very particular times of day.
Along with the DOP stamp, each wheel is marked with the farm it comes from and the date it was made. Wheels are aged for 12 to 24 months before they are cracked open and consumed. That’s where the buyer comes in.
If you buy a wheel from the Italian Centre Shop, manager Gino Marghella will personally deliver it and crack it open. From there you can easily shave off chunks. For a party, set it out as part of a larger charcuterie spread or serve it as a traditional Italian dessert drizzled with truffle honey and paired with walnuts.
Depending on the size of your party, you won’t eat all that cheese in one evening or even multiple evenings, but it is easy to divide and vacuum pack into smaller portions that will last a long time.
At $27.98 per kilogram, a whole wheel comes in at between $1,000 and $1,200. But, if you go in on it with friends and family or send guests home with a package of fresh parmesan as a parting gift, the price becomes easier to wrap your head around.
Italian Centre Shop, 9919 Fairmount Dr. S.E., 403-238-4869, italiancentre.ca