AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 20, 2019) – For the eleventh straight year, Whole Foods Market will celebrate the “king of cheese,” Parmigiano Reggiano, during a special event at hundreds of stores around the country. On Saturday, February 23 at 3pm, Whole Foods Market cheesemongers and Certified Cheese Professionals (CCPs) at hundreds of stores around the country will crack 80-pound wheels of the iconic cheese during a fun and tasty event open to the public.

During the festivities, shoppers will have the opportunity to indulge in tastings of the freshly-carved cheese, in addition to samplings of other featured pairings like freshly-made cacio e pepe, a classic Italian pasta dish. As part of the annual celebration, Whole Foods Market will give shoppers the opportunity to purchase Parmigiano Reggiano at a 30 percent discount from February 22 to February 24.

“Every year our team of cheesemongers visit Italy’s Parm region and select the top 1 percent of all Parmigiano Reggiano rated for quality,” said Cathy Strange, Global Executive Coordinator for Specialty and Product Innovation & Development at Whole Foods Market. “Those wheels are carefully aged for two years to achieve the toasted, salty and nutty flavor and subtle crystal-like texture our shoppers crave and seek out in our stores.”

Cracking the wheels requires an expert hand and usually takes about half an hour using an official five-piece knife set from Italy’s Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano. The traditional cracking method reveals Parmigiano Reggiano’s delectably crunchy crystalline internal structure.