You're not dreaming, and no, those aren't bread bowls. Thanks to social media the whole world is learning that there are levels to this pasta thing. We used to be impressed when people dunked Chicken Alfredo in sourdough. That was years ago. Now videos of pasta being slung through cheese wheels are going viral all over the internet, and for good reason. Have you seen these bad boys?
Believe it or not, cheese wheel pasta is actually not a Millennial phenomenon (as much as we'd like to take credit for it). This old world tradition from Italy actually goes decades back. The process of heating the cheese with freshly cooked pasta is called dalla forma. Sometimes the cheese is flambéed with liquor before adding the pasta. Sometimes the pasta is heated in a pan to increase its cheese melting capabilities, and sometimes modern chefs will torch the wheel to get things as toasty as possible. No matter the technique, the entire process is pretty "emotional" as celebrity Chrissy Teigen puts it. Watching cheese change form and wrap itself around perfect handmade noodles is pretty romantic don't you think? Chefs around the world are creating endless versions of the cheese magic and we even found one recipe you can try at home. Take a look.
23 Fettucine In London
Woah now. Never before has the classic Fettuccine looked this good. Londoners at The Cheese Wheel are taking handmade pasta and hurling it into an entire wheel of Parmesan. We're as shocked as you. Lucky customers get to see hard working cooks hand rolling the pasta then tossing it into warm gooey cheese. It doesn't stop there though. The Fettuccine already coated in a creamy white wine garlic sauce has the option to be elevated even further. Daring customers can choose from all kinds of toppings from bacon, mushrooms, pork sausage, tomatoes, and even basil pesto. The entire experience costs a mere six dollars.
22 Bacon & Prawns Swim In Cheese
People aren't just throwing bacon bits and noodles in these cheese wheels. Chefs at Jekyll and Hyde in Malaysia are going a step further and adding prawns to the mix. Absolutely everything, prawns and bacon included, are tossed in the melted cheese wheel so that every inch of every bite is coated in the Grana Padano cheese - the wheels from Italy that we just can't get enough of. The great thing about Grana Padano is that it's similar in taste to Parmesan, but has a tendency to melt before it crumbles making it a perfect bowl of cheese paradise for cheese wheel pasta.
21 Carbonara In China
It's rare that we see a wheel where the outsides are nice and crispy. This toasty Castelmagno Cheese wheel can be found at Macau where chefs at restaurant Bene are putting their touch on the classic Spaghetti Carbonara. Castelmagno is traditionally a semi-fat blue cheese giving this carbonara a little more edge than usual. The pasta is mixed and served table side giving guests a front row view on what's to come. The restaurant is located in the city's central Sheraton Hotel, making us think we're do for a trip to China.
20 Yes, Cheezus
What would a list of the greatest cheese wheel be without a serious close-up of whats going on in the mysterious melting pot. Owners at Bianco Kitchen in Sydney, Australia trace their roots all the way back to Sicily where the family has been importing the finest products from Italy since 1982. Truly though, what is finer than cheese and noodles plain and simple? The restaurant offers the classic pasta every week during what they call Cheese Wheel Wednesdays. Bold customers can go a step further with the addition of pesto or truffles.
19 Michelin Chefs Join In
With all the cheese bowl fun floating around social media, it's no surprise that world renowned chefs are joining in on the fun too. Massimo Bottura is the owner of three Michelin starred restaurant Osteria Francescana (that's the most amount of Michelin stars you can get by the way). Usually seen creating tiny gastronomic plates of modern cuisine, it was pretty incredible to see the chef seeing serving up his Spaghetti alla Genovese for guests in a giant gluttonous wheel of Parmesan. First cooked in green basil water, the noodles are then transferred to the cheese wheel to warm up more cheesy goodness around them. Basil on top of noodles on top of cheese sounds like a pretty perfect Genovese if you ask us.
18 Truffle Cream in Manila
People are really going all out with this truffle stuff. Yes, this entire wheel that you see has been completely doused with truffle cream while swirling in its own sweat of cheese. Even with an entire buffet going on in the background, wheels of heaven is the only thing we see. Caterers and gourmet event planners at ApertifPH are bringing the giant cheese wheels out of the dark and into the homes of buying customers. You can even send it as a gift. WHAT! Imagine waking up on your birthday to one of these (hint, hint).
17 Cheese & Pepper Heaven
Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics. Cacio e pepe, a poor man's dish from Rome that literally means "cheese and pepper" is one of the simplest yet most flavorful pasta dishes to grace our planet. With a dish that calls for purely cheese as its main source of texture and flavor, it seems pretty obvious to dunk it in a melting wheel of heaven. Aussies at the Buffalo Dining Club in Sydney have the right idea smothering their pasta cacio e pepe fresh ground black peppercorns and a Pecorino Romano wheel to up the ante. Proof that sometimes all you need is salt, pepper, cheese, and noodles.
16 Cheese Fusion
Chefs at the award wining restaurant Tanzini in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are putting their spin on the trendy dish. Dedicated to maintaining their Italy-Asia perspective, their version brings in fish roe in addition to classics like spinach and ham. Fish roe, though similar to caviar, is mostly seen used in sashimi sushi. So this one threw us for a loop. The aged Parmesan is lit on fire before the fish roe is added letting all the cheese, spinach, and ham melt down into one. We love a good fusion cuisine dish though. Plus, it's hard to go wrong when there's cheese.
15 Dalla Forma in LA
West coasters will be happy to know that the cheese wheel has rolled all the way to Santa Monica near Los Angeles. Chefs at Forma follow the traditional dalla forma steps used to create the cheese rolled pasta. Each order requires special attention and a different style of cooking depending on which of the four pastas they choose. Pictured is the restaurant's bacon and pea penne rigatoni which has thus been taken off the menu. No worries, there's still truffle oil tortellini, saffron risotto milanese, beef ragu fettucine, and spaghetti cacio e pepe.
14 Truffled Before & After
Country music, blues, jazz, and loaded cheesy pasta. Two Aussie gents in Sydney are cooking up experiences of a lifetime. Instead of setting the wheels on fire before serving, restaurant Chester White is gifting guests the entire wheel as their serving bowl. We appreciate the trust, guys. This truffle cacio e pepe houses a divine spaghetti with parsley, salt and pepper, and black truffles. It doesn't stop there though. The actual cheese is a Sardinian truffled wheel of Pecorino a process that is done by infusing the cheese with truffle paste.
13 Al Vino Rossa in New York
In the heart of Brooklyn, New York, chefs at Marco Polo Ristorante are brightening up their cheese wheels with steamy red pasta. Their signature dish cooks up fettucine al dente with tomato sauce and red wine giving it its gorgeous fiery color and textured bite. The old-school restaurant borough's Carrol Gardens toss the red pasta in a melting bowl of hollowed Parmigiano Reggiano. It's the star of the menu and a real show-stopper. Sticky Parmesan all over crimson Fettucine needs to happen more often.
12 Cheese in 360 Degrees
Locals in Lebanon and tourists alike are raving about Restaurant SUD in Dbayeh. With its giant goat cheese pizzas they are blowing up the Insta scene. Stealing the shine from their pizzas though is the glorious cheese wheel pasta. I mean look at it. With a ladle and spiraling serving fork, they are making sure that every crook and nanny of every noodle are covered in cheese. Their Parmesan wheels are heated with freshly pan fried noodles that give the bowl full 360 attention. Placed directly onto guests plate after leaving the cheese wheel it has all the loving you need.
11 Black Truffle Dreams
Give us a plate of this and we might just dive in head first. Is that allowed? At Sapore di Mare in Miami lucky customers are given entire mini cheese wheel to share among themselves. We hear it's great for two. Cacio e pepe doesn't get any better than this. If there's a truffle cheese wheel making its way down your timeline, it's probably this one. With luxurious black truffles shaved onto Parmesan, it's so easy to look and drool at. Miami knows what it's doing.
10 That's Amore Cheese
Cheese, cheese, cheese, and cheese. Yes, this 40kg wheel of Grana Padano just so happens to also be blending together a divine mix of four cheeses. Starchy spaghetti is tossed in a house cheese blend melting the grana padano and creating a gooey basket of fun. Unfortunately, we found out that this particular pasta was last seen having its last round in September at The Night Market in Melbourne. The Queen Vic market rotates its food stalls seasonally showcasing once in a lifetime meals. We'll have to live vicariously through the picture instead.
9 Il Verde Wins At Cheese
This is one of the gooiest wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano on the internet, for sure. Chefs are warming up the cheese wheels so much that they're even scooping the cheese out with giant greedy ladles. This is the way cheese should be done - stirred on top of itself. Restaurant Il Verde in Brisbane, Australia is taking over the internet with what they call their "Death by Cheese" nights. The entire dinner begins with a wood-fired raclette night slicing melting cheese onto toasted bread followed by pasta drowned in cheese wheels. Sign us up.
8 Kiwi Cheese
Not far from their island sister country in Australia, kiwis are also getting in on all the cheese wheel fun. At A Taste of Auckland some of the greatest and newest chefs on the New Zealand scene come to show off their culinary work. This past month modernists at Farina gave some visitors their first view of the magic of cheese wheel pasta. In this picture a visitor shows off their vegetarian dish filed with wilted zucchini and browned mushrooms. It was tossed in a giant Parmigiano Reggiano wheel coated with olive oil, basil, and black pepper.
7 Carbonara Done Right
This Spaghetti Alla Carbonara is made of cheesy pasta lovers dreams. At District 10 Bar & Restaurant in Singapore, chefs are tossing pasta noodles in giant cheese wheel of Grana Padano aged at approximately 18 months. It's got all the basics of a carbonara that we love - garlic, bacon, Parmesan, and starchy noodles. This time the heavy cream gets a serious upgrade when its paired with a the Grana Padano, a matured cow milk's cheese straight from Italy. Is there anything better than watching crunchy bacon crumble in an entire wheel of cheese? We might have to fly to Singapore for this one.
6 Deep Dish Fettucine
Chefs in West Palm Beach are raising the stakes at City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill where Executive Chef Andris Salmanis has chosen enormous 90 pound cheese wheels for their fettuccine. The wheel is so big they have to carve three serving sizes within the bowl. First chefs set the wheel aflame with house brandy then comes the olive oil and garlic cream sauce. The homemade pasta then makes an entrance after previously being made hours in advance. Once the brandy is set aflame and melts the cheese it's a match made in heaven with handmade noodles that get coated all around.
5 Risotto Makes An Appearance
The creators behind 2015's award-winning Bencotto in San Diego have launched a new project at the nearby and very 'grammable Monello. We don't know if they're the first to do it, but they are certainly making risotto in a cheese wheel look like one of the best cheese wheels yet. Not only are the risottos whipped up in the 60 pound wheels, but they're also topped with a taleggio fondue dripping with dried pork. Still with us? This isn't the only cheese wheel pasta Monello is cooking up. Keep scrolling.
4 More Monello
We told you it was going to get real. Monello is not playing games when it comes to the cheese wheel. Pictured is the lamb ragu with smoked beef, one of their newest offerings. As if being tossed in a hefty wheel of cheese wasn't enough, they still offer you extra shavings of cheese to go on the side. San Diego has truly nailed what it means to cook a pasta inside a cheese bowl. If anyone is in the running for best in show, it might me them. Don't believe us? Take a look at their Insta.
3 Flaming Cheese
Vegas never disappoints. Restaurant Salute Trattoria Italiana spoiled its guests with their take on Southern Italy's cuisine and flaming cheese wheels. The Salute Signature Pasta Flambé featured a giant bowl of Pecorino Romano that is set aflame allowing the cheesy goodness to melt down and welcome in the pasta. The cheese wheel is the perfect transforming basin to add more layers of flavor in while it lets the noodles be tossed about in a scarlet red tomato sauce. This is a pasta gastronomic experience Vegas has perfected. Unfortunately the restaurant has closed as the founder prepares to open what he anticipates to be an even better concept in Vegas. Let's hope he brings the pasta.
2 On Display At Vegas
Every year in Las Vegas nearly 80 nightclubs, bars, and restaurants make an appearance at The Epicurean Affair. The gourmet food event features the top mixologists and chefs in the business. Lavo, a restaurant and nightclub from New York is featured here showcasing their homemade Cavateli with fava bean and spring pea in an heirloom tomato sauce. In a place like Vegas you have to go all out. So, we're not surprised that they felt the need to bring out the big guns and show off their cheese wheel pasta making skills. We're definitely impressed by the massive cheese cut out that was made to fit all the pasta in.
1 Find Your Own Wheel
It may seem like only high-end trendy restaurants have access to cheese wheels. But if you saw Chrissy Teigen's excitement a few years ago when John Legend got her a giant wheel of Parmesan for Christmas then you may have wondered how you can get one of these for yourself. It's not just for the celebrities either. It can be as easy as going to your nearest Costco. Once you've got your hands on the golden wheel, making it is a breeze. Canadian television personality Marilyn Denis has a homemade recipe we're drooling over with pancetta, peas, tossed in your very own wheel of parmigiano.