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Cheese Bank

Photo: Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano

You'd expect to find gold bullions inside the vast vault of The Credito Emiliano bank in Italy, but instead, you'd find something else just as valuable: Parmesan cheese.

Oddity Central explains:

Cash-for-cheese sounds more like a joke that a serious financial agreement, but in some regions of Italy it’s a reality. The famous Parmesan is so precious that some banks are willing to keep the cheese as collateral against loans to local producers.

The Credito Emiliano bank has hundreds of branches and thousands of employees around central and northern Italy. Its central offices look like those of any other banking institution, with cameras watching every angle, security doors to lock down the place and even a big vault in the back. Only you’re not going to find too many diamonds or hard cash stored in there. Instead, there are hundreds of thousands of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels, neatly placed on giant shelves. The bank takes the Parmesan from local producers in exchange for a cheap loan, and charges a 3% interest as well as a fee for looking after the cheese and making sure it matures properly in the air-conditioned, humidified vault. It might seem strange, but Credito Emiliano treats Parmigiano-Reggiano like other banks do gold. And for good reason, as the mountains of cheese locked away in its secured vault are worth around $200 million.


We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

There was once this game show, set in a supermarket. Two contestants would run around the store with empty shopping carts (and helpers driving the cart) trying to fit as many high priced items into their carts as possible and then race back to the starting line in under a minute or two. Whoever racked up the highest receipt at the cash register won and got to keep what they had gathered.

When grocery stores started putting in cheese departments that included whole wheels, my inner game show competitor said 'Ka-ching!'.
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