This could be the plot of a Hugh Grant movie: a small English village is bypassed by the area’s new highway, leading the town’s residents to dream up a cheese-rolling contest to attract visitors.
As sad and kooky as that sounds, it’s actually the true story of Stilton, England, namesake of the famous blue cheese.
The now-annual event, held Monday, was invented in the 1960s by two pub landlords who told villagers it was “an ancient tradition” to convince them to participate, the BBC reports.
“It’s certainly gone from being a quirky idea to a massive event for the village,” the news outlet quotes a local historian as saying.
While I would love to see an actual wheel of Stilton being rolled down the street, the cheese is too soft and crumbly to make it all the way down the town’s main drag.
Instead, teams roll wooden blocks cut from an old telegraph pole and painted with blue veins to resemble the cheese, according to the BBC.
But even if the cheese were sturdy enough to withstand a good tumble, it seems there could be a liability issue.
In Gloucestershire, “daredevil cheese chasers” have for two centuries spent a late May bank holiday hurling themselves down an incredibly steep hill while trying to catch a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese, the BBC says in a separate report. Not surprisingly, most end up in a heap at the bottom.
Last year, contestants had to chase a foam cheese after police told the cheese maker she could face legal action, the BBC says.
And here I thought the U.S. was a litigious nation. It seems a bit unfair that simply making, or even providing, a wheel of cheese could cause someone to be liable for an injury suffered by a knucklehead who decided to throw it (and himself) down a hill. On the bright side, I suppose, there’s no more wasting a good wheel of Double Gloucester.