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.
I did enjoy this article on Forbes.com, all about protected trademarks for local speciality foods such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Kobe beef. The author explains that when the cheese is ‘translated’ into English and called “Parmesan”, the name is no longer protected in the U.S., leading to cheeses of far inferior quality being passed off as the real thing.
Not sure if this really qualifies as a Monday smile, but food is certainly a pleasant subject!
I also discovered that real Parmigiano Reggiano is so healthy that American and Russian astronauts are fed it in space! There’s an interesting point about the trademark protection of Champagne not being applicable in the States too.