by Danny Altman
What’s the difference between Kraft Parmesan cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano? Well, aside from the taste, and the fact that they’ve been making it in Italy since 1200, you can take the real stuff to the bank. Here’s the difference between a commodity brand and something people really want to get their hands on. When Italian cheese makers need a loan, they pull up to Credito Emiliano, unload a few hundred wheels of Parmesan, and walk away with their money.
No, the bank doesn’t stick the cheese in the vault so you can’t get to your safe deposit box. It has two climate-controlled warehouses that hold over 400,000 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Each wheel of cheese is made with 550 liters of milk, weighs 80 kilograms and is worth €300. And yes, just like gold bullion, each wheel of cheese has a serial number so it can be traced if stolen.
Since the aging process takes years, the bank actually oversees the work,
which includes turning each wheel a few times a week and testing to see if
a wheel has gone soft. When was the last time your bank provided service like that?
And check out their art collection while you’re at it.