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You can try this world-famous gourmet cheese for free in Bradenton this weekend. Here’s where.

Parmesan cheese in New York, Sept. 8, 2018.
Parmesan cheese in New York, Sept. 8, 2018. NYT

Most of the Parmesan cheese on grocery store shelves is a mere imitation descended from the legendary foodstuff that inspired it: Parmigiano-Reggiano.

This Saturday, you can sample some of the world-famous cheese in Bradenton.

Fresh Market is hosting an in-store event with a cheese wheel cracking demonstration, a talk a with a cheese specialist and free samples of the cheese. Cheese wedges will also be on sale for about $17 a pound.

The event is happening simultaneously at 161 Fresh Market stores at noon on Saturday, including the Manatee Avenue and University Parkway locations.

Authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano comes from one of five regions in Italy and goes through a rigorous aging and quality verification process; the wheels of cheese even get an official seal from the Italian government.

The 95-pound wheels are valued at over $2,000.

Aged for up to two years, Parmigiano-Reggiano has a sharp, nutty and memorable flavor.

Many cheese makers now have offerings inspired by Parmigiano-Reggiano. You’ll just have to decide for yourself whether they measure up to the “King of Cheeses.”

Details: Noon Saturday. The Fresh Market, 6701 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton and 5251 University Pkwy., University Park. Free. Info: thefreshmarket.com.

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