Cheese From Space!
Cheese From Outer Space!
Before you ask: yes, this article really is about intergalactic cheese.
“Space Cheese”. You may find it difficult to swallow (those who have seen District 9 will probably agree that’s for the best), but the truth is that Cardiff will soon be playing host to a celebrity cheese with a name so full of win it could kill Chuck Norris faster than you can say “camembert”.
The Cheddarnaut will be taking pride of place in Cardiff Castle next weekend for the Great British Cheese Festival. The 300g slice of extra mature cheddar was launched into space at the end of July to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first man on the moon. Since returning from its epic voyage, scientists have been carefully examining the cheese to ensure it is healthy and safe to go on display at the UK’s biggest cheese show.
The adventurous cheese spent 18 months in preparation for the voyage at the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers in Somerset, then launched in a capsule with GPS satellite tracking. The Cheddarnaut clocked over 83 miles on its space odyssey before landing in someone’s garden in Buckinghamshire. After what must have been a fairly anticlimactic episode (imagine prying open an alien spacecraft to discover it contains... cheese) the cheddar was handed over to police, who returned it to the cheese makers.
Juliet Harbutt, cheese expert and founder of the Great British Cheese Festival, said: “Goodness only knows what the Cheddarnaut has seen on its travels, but it’s clearly made from the right stuff, and we are delighted to have it on display in Cardiff in September where it will be a star attraction.”
West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers, in case you hadn’t guessed, are big fans of cheese. The Cheddarnaut was not their first attempt to bring cheese into the public consciousness, and I doubt it will be their last. As well as their quest to invent the perfect cheese sandwich, in 2007 they created an internet sensation by attracting 1.8 million visitors to watch cheese mature live on the web over the course of 12 months. Last year a film showing Cardiff Castle being sculpted from cheese proved a major hit on YouTube.
On top of all this, their cheddars are apparently rather delicious: they have been awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, which sets them aside from other cheddars as authentic and handmade on the farm, without colourings, flavourings and preservatives. If you pop along to the festival, be sure to try some and let us know if it’s as good as they say it is.
The Great British Cheese Festival
Set in the grounds of Cardiff Castle, the Great British Cheese Festival brings together over 450 British and Irish cheeses, with numerous samples on offer, along with fine foods and drinks from around the country, particularly local to Wales.
The event features a whole cheese board of tastings and demonstrations, such as ‘Grappling With The Grape’ to find the perfect wine to accompany your cheese, a trip around the artisan cheese makers of the festival’s new Welsh homeland, the science behind matching up the three elements of the Ploughman’s Lunch – bread, cheese and pickle, and classes on how to get started in your own cheese making venture.
If you book in advance up, you get a £3.50 voucher towards entry to a master class or demonstration. Combined tickets allowing you to tour Cardiff Castle are also available. The ticket price includes as many free samples of cheese as you can manage. To obtain tickets, please visit The Cheese Web (link below). You can also contact Ticketline by calling 029 20 230 130 or visiting www.ticketlineuk.com.
Ode to the Cheddarnaut (a poem about space cheese)