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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Thousands tune in to cheese check
The website invites you to watch a Cheddar cheese maturing
The cheese will take 12 months to fully mature
A Cheddar cheese maturing via a webcam on the internet attracted thousands of cheese lovers on Thursday - when something actually happened.

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 525,000 cheese fans have clicked on the site.

The cheese, which was checked around 0800 BST by expert cheese maker Tom Calver, tasted fresh, nutty and very buttery, said spokesperson Dom Lane.

It is the first quality check on the hand-made cheese, which has already grown a faint grey coat of mould.

Mr Lane, who is behind the project, said: "It turns out it is very fresh, with a little hint of green (the taste of the pasture) which is quite unusual. It looks set to be a top, first class West Country cheese."

Despite not a lot happening, I think it rouses people's curiosity about the entire cheese making process
Dom Lane

About 17,000 people clicked onto the site on Thursday to watch the cheese.

"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," said Mr Lane.

"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.




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