Wednesday, March 28, 2007


A Cheddar cheese maturing via a webcam on the internet is expected to attract thousands of cheese lovers on Thursday - when something actually happens.

Cheese makers in Somerset set up a round-the-clock camera on the 44lb (20kg) truckle of Cheddar in January.

In the last three months, over 500,000 cheese fans have clicked on the site.

But about 55,000 are expected to watch expert cheesemaker Tom Calver pull out a core of cheese and sniff and taste it to check if it is maturing properly.

It is the first quality check on the hand-made cheese, which has already grown a faint grey coat of mould. Dom Lane, who is behind the project, said: "It's absolutely bonkers, we thought we might get a few cheese lovers logging on but it has really taken off and seems to have captured people's imaginations.

"We've had people logging on from New Zealand to Iceland. Most people like cheese but this site actually shows the entire process of what goes into making a good cheddar. Despite not a lot happening, I think it rouses people's curiosity about the entire cheese making process."

West Country Farmhouse Cheddar carries the Protected Designation of Origin status ranking it alongside Champagne, Parma Ham and Cognac.

The cheese is expected to take 12 months to mature where it will develop into the colour of an "old gravestone". It will then be auctioned off with all profits going to charity.

"Hopefully it will taste absolutely fantastic - the long maturation process will allow the cheese to develop subtleties and depth of flavour," said Mr Lane.

A spokesperson for the cheese makers said it was going to be tested around 1000 BST.

Watch the fabulous cam HERE

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