Who moved my Parmigiano?

February 24, 2009 / Local Interest
Reggio Emilia
parmigianotheft1Self-help books might suggest to take it easy, adapt to change and not worry about “who moved my cheese”, but in the real world of high quality Parmigiano production in Italy, moving someone’s cheese will land you in jail.

Ask the 7 crooks caught Friday night for breaking into a Parmigiano Reggiano curing house just outside of Reggio Emilia who tried to make off in two trucks and two cars with 460 wheels of the valuable stuff. Total value? A cool E.250,000.

What really gives the story its Italian twist however is that the curing house belongs to Credem, (Credito Emiliano), a small local coop bank that works closely with the area’s producers. A bank stockpiling cheese?! Oh how quaint… how Italian, right?

parmigianotheft2Think again. The cheese needs to cure 18-36 months before it gets the official Parmigiano Reggiano seal. That’s a long time for a producer to be sitting on a store of value that could be put to better use. Give the cheese instead to the bank as collateral against mid-term loans and re-invest the funds back into your farm (all very efficient, clean, and quite high-tech in these parts). Not quaint… that’s called good business. (Been done this way since the middle ages.)

And get this…!! Due to the current financial crisis and given that 2-3 year Parmigiano has never dropped in value, (people aren’t about to stop eating pasta, right?), Credem is outright buying and stockpiling even more wheels of cheese as a hedge against the expected future devaluation of other assets and defaults in their portfolio! Total value of their hedge at this point? E.25,000,000 worth of cold, hard…..


Many thanks to the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano for the photos.



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

17 Responses to “Who moved my Parmigiano?”

  1. This is why we LOVE ItalianNotebook.com! Perhaps something could be learned here for our US banks??

  2. Dear GB,
    My wife shared the “The Who Moved My Parmigiano” which is a great article. It is also a prime example of warehouse financing in agriculture, which FAO promotes. I would like to share this with Devfinance, an internet group on agricultural finance if that is acceptable, and insert the link to your site.

  3. hebegb

    Hi all, thanks for posting! Calvin, by all means feel free to share it with the FAO finance folks, thanks!

  4. I love all of the Italian Notebook notes. I lived in Italy in my high-school years and reading these notes really keeps me feeling connected. I so miss the Italian view of life!

  5. What a fantastic way to protect against bad debts. The only downside would be a currency devaluation. If that happens, probably the value of cheese will be the least of anyone’s worries. You have to love Italy.

  6. please check your spelling. Parmigiano comes with one g. Here appears correclty spelled, but on the mail I received somehow appears with two. How come?

  7. hebegb

    Cinzia, right you are, .. ahem.. that was just a wee typo, REPEATED 7 TIMES! in the emailed note that slipped by the editorial office here. Che vergogna!
    Saluti dall’editor dei suoi stessi stivali,

    Dott.G-“Editor si scrive con una D o quattro?”-B

  8. Not impressed with your spelling, dear editor, but I love the phrase “dei stessi stivali.” Please, cosa vuol dire?

  9. Sarah Yagi

    I wondered if you could help me locate a copy of the book “Who Moved My Cheese” translated into Italian. I want to buy it for my son, who is studying Italian and loves the English version.

    Thank you for giving me a site address where I can purchase the book in the Italian.

    Thank you for any help you can give me!!

    Sarah Yagi


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