The letter s in the word Parmesan (meaning the cheese, named after the Parma region of Italy) is pronounced quite widely (Br & Aus AFAIK) as a /z/, per Wiktionary:
- UK, also found in the US: /ˈpɑɹ.məˌzɑn/
- found in the US: /ˈpɑɹ.məˌʒɑn/
And in Australia (no reference, just experience) it's /ˈpɑɹ.məˌzɑn/ (maybe heading for /ˈpɑɹ.məˌsɑn/).
However, in Seattle WA and Portland OR, the locals all (IME) pronounce it with a soft /ʒ/ sound, like in the French je, so /ˈpɑɹ.məˌʒɑn/
Is this a "northwest only" variation? How much of the US says /ˈpɑɹ.məˌʒɑn/?
Does this also occur in other countries?
I note that Merriam Webster includes the spelling pronunciation "-zhan" (albeit last) as an alternative pronunciation.