Parmigiano Reggiano is essential to the economy in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. That may not be so surprising in and of itself but, did you know that the local banks there accept cheese as collateral? In 2009, Credito Emiliano had two climate controlled warehouses where they stored roughly 440,000 wheels of Parmigiano. All total, those wheels were worth approximately $187 million.
Parmigiano Reggiano was also considered sufficiently valuable to be the target of a heist. In February of 2009, thieves tunneled into a parm warehouse and stole 570 wheels before they were caught. Honestly, one wonders how well thought out the plan was, considering each wheel of parm weighs about 80-lbs. and bears a unique serial number (much like money) to identify it. The funniest part of the story, however, was the remark made by the vault manager after the cheese had been recovered: “Thank heavens we caught the robbers before they grated it!”* (more…)