April 25, 2007 / 5:29 PM / 11 years ago

Maturing British cheese becomes Internet star

LONDON (Reuters) - A large English cheddar cheese has become a star of the Internet, attracting more than 1 million viewers to sit and stare at it as it slowly ripens.

First placed in front of a webcam in late December, the Westcombe cheddar from West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers leaped to public attention in early February and has since attracted viewers from 119 countries.

“The hits went over 1 million this morning. It has been a real challenge keeping the cheese up and running with all the interest it has generated,” a spokesman for the company running the website, www.cheddarvision.tv, said on Wednesday.

Watchers have tuned in from as far afield as Albania and New Zealand, although most are from the United States where a school has even sent in pictures of two crocodiles to guard the cheese.

“The whole idea was to show people how real food is made -- and it seems to be working,” cheesemaker Tom Calver said. “It takes a year for the cheese to mature. This is not fast food. It is slow food.”

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