Live webcam puts cheddar in every home

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Less than a week into 2007 and already there is a contender for the
year's most bizarre story: a webcam that allows consumers to watch
a block of cheddar cheese ripen in real time.

Dubbed 'Cheddarvision', marketing gurus for makers of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar have put one of the cheeses live on the web, so consumers can watch it mature live over the next year.

Farmers hope it will raise the profile of their cheddar, which carries EU Protected Designation of Origin status, and help consumers to understand more about how it is made.

Viewers logging on to see the cheese at the centre of a mock television screen. A counter notes the time lapsed, and a couple of clicks on the tv's side button reveal extra pictures. The screen also grows darker as daylight fades.

"Some might say this is the most boring website of 2007, but our cheese is worth waiting for so it's better than watching paint dry...just,"​ said Philip Crawford, chairman of the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers group.​ was unable to find anyone who had actually watched paint dry to comment on this. But, had registered more than 23,500 hits only four days in to the campaign, so it seems the idea has at least aroused some curiosity.

It is not the first slightly eccentric marketing campaign from the West Country Cheddar makers.

Earlier last year they claimed their cows 'mooed' with 'oo-arr' regional accents. "I spend a lot of time with my Friesians and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl,"​ said farmer Lloyd Green. A university professor agreed it was possible.

And, a survey commissioned by the same group also found that up to 405,000 people in Britain eat cheddar in the night with no clothes on, every day.

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