The iconic cheese wheel, melted to mix and top foods in numerous viral videos, is made of Parmesan-Reggiano and has history dating back over 900 years. Italian monasteries located in the fields between Parma and Reggio Emilia provinces raised cows for high quality milk production, and a local town of Salsomaggiore produced the salt necessary to create the cheese. Due to the quality of its ingredients, the Parmesan-Reggiano wheel still needs to be taste-tested, branded, and verified to have been made in this area of Italy, its Protected Designation of Origin. In a process that over 18 months, cheese wheel production creates a natural, edible crust that allows the cheese to last several months if not cut. The monks originally wanted to create a food that could last a significant period of time but could also be nutritious. Today, after Chrissy Teigen gifted husband John Legend one of these wheels for Christmas in 2015, the cheese wheel (and the pasta made from it) has doubled in popularity according to Google Trends. Through its celebrity introduction, the expense and extravagance that comes with the sheer size and limited production of the Parmesan-Reggiano cheese wheel has sparked consumer interest, causing American brand name stores like Costco and Williams Sonoma to start selling these cheese wheels for $1000 to $2500.
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