Yesterday at noon, Eastern Standard Time, Loblaw Companies Limited set out to break the Guinness World Record for the most wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese cracked simultaneously. The previous record was set in April of 2008 by Whole Foods Market when they broke 176 wheels. Loblaw brought over 250 of their stores together from coast-to-coast to try to almost double the record at over 300 wheels cracked.
At the Maple Leaf Gardens store in Toronto, in the shadow of the infamous 40-foot “Wall of Cheese”, approximately 100 spectators gathered around to watch 10 of the wheels being cracked. Shortly before the allotted time and announcement was made explaining the procedures. A Loblaw representative explained how each wheel cracker had been specifically trained to adhere to the proper cracking procedure. She then passed the mic on to an official representative from Guinness. He discussed the criteria for what it takes to break the record and how it would be verified. While a handful of stores had either an official Guinness adjudicator or members from the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium, they would mostly be relying on photographic evidence as proof.
With 5 minutes to go an announcement was made. At 10 seconds the crowd started to count down. At the stroke of 12 the tools were stabbed into the 35 kilogram hunks of parm. It took approximately one minute and fourty-five seconds for the first wheel to crack. The other 9 followed shortly after within the next minute.
From a press release today, Loblaw stated the record had successfully been broken with 305 wheels being cracked. They are still calculating additional results.