There are thousands of different types of cheese in the world, but if you walk into Credito Emiliano (Credem) in Northern Italy in the hopes of scoring a loan, you'd better bring a colossal wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Since 1953, this regional bank has been accepting "the King of Cheeses" in lieu of other collateral for loans. And it's not just a cheesy gimmick: By setting up its own climate-controlled cheese vault, Credem acts as a storage resource for cheese producers. They can borrow money and the bank can deepen its understanding of the cheese industry while holding onto the cheese as insurance. What makes it ideal is that Parmigiano-Reggiano gets better with age, so it's good business on both sides to delay putting the product on the market. The farmers who run into money shortages can borrow, while the banks can take advantage of the increasing value of the cheese.
Some slices of cheesy info:
- Denmark boasts the world's most enthusiastic population of cheese consumers, with each person eating 61.9 pounds (28.1 kg) per year, on average.
- The United States is undoubtedly the world's largest cheese producer, making approximately six times more cheese every year than any other country.
- You need about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of milk to make 1 pound (.45 kg) of cheese.