This story first hit the media in 2009, but still seems to be current now, about the northern Italian bank Credem (Credito Emiliano) that decided to take wheels of Parmesan cheese as security for its loans.
Due to fluctuating prices affecting producers, and the long maturing periods immobilizing their capital, the bank decided to offer loans to help the sector, but to physically house the collateral at the bank in order to reduce risk. Credem has two purpose-built warehouses protecting the 440,000 cheeses that it holds.
On the subject of gastro-finance, another bank was planning an ad hoc loan “Credito balsamico” for vinegar producers, and one producer thought up a scheme to finance culatello (a special type of cured ham) by selling shares directly to restaurants to finance the fresh meat and cover maturing costs.
Read more in this article from La Repubblica (in Italian).
If you’re interested, here on the site of the consorzio there is a short film (with lovely music) on the making of parmesan (and even a little glossary!).
You might also like this cheesy post on the ‘translation’ of Parmesan in the US.
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