Wedginald, the cult cheese, finally gets its big taste test

Wedginald is no ordinary reality TV star. Since birth, every millisecond of his life has been broadcast live on internet television, with 1.5 million people logging on to chart his progress.

At just nine months old, the West Country celebrity has sparked a flurry of online fan groups, not to mention fan mail from across the world. But the notorious Wedginald is no precocious child star. It is a rather large block of cheese.

When it emerged from the churn nine months ago, the handmade round of farmhouse Cheddar was given its own web television station, cheddarvision, which constantly streamed its image from a shelf at Westcombe Dairy in Somerset. Like many internet phenomena, the popularity of cheddarvision has largely been down to its pointlessness.

But yesterday visits to the site peaked, as some action was finally promised. Enthusiasts logged on to see Tom Calmer, its creator, take a nine-month sample from the round, a crucial test in determining its quality.

This late stage in the maturing process is make or break for a West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. Woe betide the cheese that has not matured correctly; this can result in anything from blue mould to a rather nasty rotten egg smell. But if successful, there is only a three-month wait before the cheese can be taken from its shelf in the Somerset dairy and put up for auction.

So how did the world's first celebrity cheese fare in its final taste test? If you believe the hype, not only did it do very well, but it is an outstanding example of dairy brilliance. Like wine-tasters, cheesemakers have a language all of their own to distinguish their creations from their plastic-wrapped ugly sisters.

A spokesperson for the cheese described it as having "a caramel nose, a sweet twiggy greenness and a creamy good length of flavour". Mr Calmer called it "lemony, with a certain "spritziness".

But there is a serious message to what could otherwise be the world's most pointless live broadcast. Mr Calmer, who thought up the project, wanted to put people back in touch with where their food comes from, and show the public how painstaking the process of maturing a "proper" cheddar can be.

Every year Britons consume 360,000 tonnes of Cheddar, but only 15,000 tonnes of that are what Mr Calmer would call "the real thing" – West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.

The 25-year-old dairy farmer said: "I got frustrated by the detachment people have from their food now. Some people don't even know that a carrot comes from the ground. This is our way of educating the consumer about just how long it takes to mature a cheese. Some varieties take 18 months, it's a real labour of love."

But the runaway success of the website has surprised even Mr Calmer. Cynics said it would be the most boring thing ever broadcast, and that watching paint dry would be better, yet thousands of online enthusiasts have flocked to the site every day. He said: "I couldn't believe it. One and a half million people for a piece of cheese? What? It's been really incredible. Now I get jealous – the cheese got a Valentine's card this year and I didn't. How is that fair?"

Hits on the Web

* The Hamster Dance

Simple animations of furry rodents that became so popular they spawned a band and an album release.

* The Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Staff in a computer lab just wanted to keep watch on their coffee in 1991. So, they set up a camera to keep an eye. The pot became a webcam sensation and sold for £3,350.

* Pastafarianism

A religion that was born online. Thousands now follow the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" – cooked up to counter those who were pushing Intelligent Design in schools.

* The Star Wars Kid

One of the Web's most viewed videos. A 2002 film of a boy brandishing a golf ball container tube as if it were a light-sabre.

* Lolcats

Pictures of cats with humorous captions attached, often written in "Netspeak", have become an internet favourite thanks to the lolcats site.

* The Dancing Baby

Surfers flocked to an animation of a dancing baby after it appeared in 1997. It made its way on to an episode of Ally McBeal.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Administration Assistant / Office Assistant

£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone