Wednesday 29, February 2012
Cheshire Cheese Company wheel to victory
Amy Hughes has been on the scent of the 200-year-old cheese rolling competition in Chester.
Cheshire Cheese Rolling competition brought an upset as five-times
reigning champions The Cheese Shop were dethroned by debutants The Cheshire
Tipped as hot favourites to retain their title, The Cheese Shop’s dreams of a sixth successive victory melted when they met the champions-elect in the semi-final. .
That saw the Cheshire Cheese Company square up to Chorlton Cheese in the final. The race was painstakingly close with The Cheshire Cheese Company just taking the lead and the title.
The Lady Mayoress of Chester Eleanor Johnson presented the trophy declaring the newcomers Champion Cheese Rollers 2012.
Steve Murrell of The Cheshire Cheese Company, said of the win: “This is absolutely fantastic. It is our first time at the cheese rolling event as well.”
The Cheshire Cheese brand is only 12 months-old and adds this latest gong to two world cheese awards and an international cheese award.
They were the best of six groups in this year’s competition - The Cheese Shop, Yog-art, Chartlon Cheese, The Cheshire Cheese Company, Taste Cheshire and Dee 106.3 – and confirmed they will be back next year to defend their title.
This 200 year-old tradition was created in order for the cheese makers of Cheshire to compete over who had the best, most durable cheese. Nowadays wooden replicas are used instead of a real cheese wheel as it would be a waste of perfectly good cheese to use the real thing.
Event organiser, Stephen Wundke of Taste Cheshire, explained how the competition benefits Chester as a city: “It is a great publicity vehicle for the city and it is great to highlight all the brilliant cheese makers we have in Cheshire.”
The event starts on Eastgate Street, where the ceremonial cheese – provided this year by the Joseph Heller brand of Cheshire cheese - is carried by the Mayor/Mayoress to the ‘Cross’ at the heart of Chester city centre.
Competition rules state the cheese must never leave the ground unless an obstacle calls for it, no throwing the wheel, and there must be four on each team.
The competition itself is a relay obstacle course, which each member of the team must go down and back up before passing the wheel to another member. Once all members have completed the course, their times are recorded and they then go into heats until the final.
Spectator, Hannah Scott, 19, said: “I love seeing adults being so competitive. It’s just good fun.”
This competition also marks the six-week run-up to the Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival which is being held over Easter weekend this year.
June Mooney, Chair of the Festival, said it will be “bigger and better” this year. She added: “It’s the year of the giant, so we’re going to be the giant festival this year.”
The Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle festival offers something for all ages including cookery demonstrations, sampling and unique products.
To book tickets for the event go to: www.chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk
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