In the last few years, the quality of parmigiano reggiano that I've bought in Toronto, at roughly the same price point of $40/kg ($18/lb), has varied widely. Most disappointing is when the cheese is moist and lacking in the that traditional sharp nutty flavour, often being actually bitter. A perfect example was the Tre Stelle brand I bought this afternoon, after the fresh cut pieces were all sold out. I typically avoid Tre Stelle and other pre-packaged brands for this reason.
I wonder if North America is not being supplied with under-aged parmigiano reggiano. Any takers for this theory?