If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, chances are you love Parmesan cheese. This nutty, salty, and buttery cheese is a staple in many dishes – from pasta to pizza – and can add a depth of flavor that few other ingredients can match. But for those who consider themselves true Parmesan aficionados, the question remains: can you buy a whole wheel of Parmesan cheese?

The answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as walking into your local grocery store and picking one up off the shelf. In fact, buying an entire wheel of Parmesan cheese requires a bit of planning and research.

First things first: what exactly is a wheel of Parmesan cheese? Essentially, it’s a massive round of cheese that weighs between 66 and 88 pounds. These wheels are made using traditional methods in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, where they’re aged for anywhere from 12 months to three years.

So how do you go about buying one of these behemoths? The most common way is to contact an importer or distributor that specializes in Italian foods. These companies work directly with producers in Italy to import authentic wheels of Parmesan cheese (as well as other Italian cheeses) to the United States.

When purchasing a wheel of Parmesan cheese, it’s important to consider several factors. First and foremost is the age of the cheese – younger cheeses (aged for 12-18 months) tend to be milder and creamier, while older cheeses (aged for three or more years) are sharper and more complex.

Another consideration is how much space you have available for storing the cheese. A full wheel can take up quite a bit of room – around two feet in diameter and over a foot tall – so make sure you have adequate refrigeration space before making your purchase.

Once you’ve acquired your wheel of Parmesan cheese, it’s time to start using it! One popular method is to use a special tool called a girolle, which shaves the cheese into thin, curly strips. Another option is to simply cut off chunks of the cheese as needed and grate them using a traditional cheese grater.

Of course, buying an entire wheel of Parmesan cheese isn’t for everyone – it’s certainly not a cheap endeavor, and it requires some serious dedication to Italian cuisine. But for those who are passionate about this beloved cheese and want to experience it at its best, there’s nothing quite like having a whole wheel in your kitchen.