WHY TO BUY THE BLOCK
It’s authentic. That container of grated Parm? Yeah, it may be 100 percent the real deal. But it could also contain other stuff—mold inhibitors, anticaking agents, and other flavorings—that are decidedly not cheese. To make sure you’re getting authentic Parm, look for a chunk with the distinctive tan rind stamped with PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO in dotted letters, which is regulated by European law.
The rind is a flavor bomb. Speaking of rinds, when you’ve used all the cheese, don’t toss it! Add it to soups, stews, or pasta sauces for a kick of umami.
It’s more versatile. When you buy a block, you can shred it over salads and soups, use a veggie peeler to make fancy curls, or put that wedge out as the centerpiece of your cheese plate and let guests hack off chunks themselves. When you buy the preshredded stuff, all you get are, well, shreds.