Sunday, May 28, 2017

What Unusual Traditions Involve Cheese?

Cheese is such a popular food in many areas of the world that it should come as no surprise that there are numerous traditions related to it. Some will involve eating cheese in ways that seem odd to Americans while others use the cheese in a different way entirely. Here are some of the unusual traditions involving cheese.
Cheese Rolling In England
Perhaps the most famous unusual cheese-related tradition is cheese rolling in Gloucestershire, England. This is a bank holiday that occurs in late spring and is an interesting take on racing. The race involves following a rolling round of cheese, specifically Double Gloucester, down a hill. The first person to cross the finish line wins. Tradition dictates that after this, the winner runs back up Cooper’s Hill, where this takes place. While this tradition may seem tame, injuries do occur, including concussions and broken bones. This tradition likely has its roots in Pagan traditions that celebrated rebirth following winter. Interestingly enough, it was officially banned because of health and safety concerns in 2010, but it still continues unofficially every year.
Cacio al Fuso In Italy
The British aren’t the only people to use cheese in unusual ways in their traditions. Cacio al Fuso is a game that is very similar to lawn bowls but uses an actual wheel of cheese as the ball. This game is played in Pienza, a Tuscan hilltop town known for its pecorino cheese. The game takes place in the Piazza Pio II, the central plaza in the town. During the game, you roll the cheese wheel towards the central wooden peg in the middle of a marble ring in the pavement. Keep in mind that you have to roll it from a designated rug at a certain distance, similar to how you release a bowling ball away from the pins. Outside of this ring, there are additional rings marked with chalk. You get points based on how close to the center ring you get. Amazingly enough, the marble ring used in the game was made around 500 years ago.
Traditions With Eating Cheese
In addition to unusual traditions that use cheese in interesting ways, some simply involve cheese choices that are unusual to some. There is a Sardinian traditional cheese made using sheep’s milk, for example, named Casu Marzu. This cheese is fermented until it starts to decompose and maggots form in it. Italy has outlawed it because of the danger associated with it, but you may find it on the black market for a high price. For a tradition you may be willing to try, go north to Canada and try poutine. The idea of putting cheese curds and gravy on fries is odd to many Americans, but this is an incredibly popular food in Canada.

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