The marketing geniuses behind CheddarVision.tv, the webcam that broadcasts a 24/7 feed of an aging wheel of English Farmhouse Cheddar, have outdone themselves with a publicity stunt that rivals some of the greatest achievements of mankind. Last week, the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers launched a weather balloon in space, to which was hitched a slice of 18-month old West Country Cheddar. Their plan? To "mark the 40th anniversary of the first man on the moon and the first space flight undertaken by a piece of cheese."
The device had an onboard GPS which was supposed to help them track the flight path of the cheese, as well as a camera to take pictures while in flight, but both devices failed shortly after launch. The cheese was declared "lost in space," with the organizers claiming the cheese could land "anywhere between Pewsey in Wiltshire [where it was launched] and Hertfordshire."
Several days later, however, the balloon and cheese made a crash landing about 75 miles from the launch site, in Cressex. According to this article from the Xinhua, the cheese landed in the back garden of one Leonie Gould:
"I was shocked to find this nine inch-long box...covered in foil with a cheese attached to an aerial," Mrs Gould told a local newspaper. “I didn't know what it was or where it came from, so I ran inside and called the police," she said. "When the officers arrived, they just laughed and explained about the cheese launch mission," she said, and described the whole affair as being "a bit strange!"
Strange indeed! Phillip Crawford, chairman of the group that organized the stunt, sums it up well in his most recent press release:
"We are thrilled to announce the success of our space odyssey. We feel we have appropriately marked the 40th anniversary of the first man on the moon in our own way with a first for cheese. We are also incredibly touched by the public support for the safe return of the Cheddarnaut and are delighted that people are as proud of this West Country food icon as we are."
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.