World Cup of Cheese

For my birthday two years ago I ran a mini writing contest, in which I asked people to send me their experiences of – and fantasies about – birthday sex.  Judging it was great fun, though not nearly as enjoyable as actually reading through the various submissions.

Since then I’ve pretty much sworn off running competitions – judging may be fun, but it’s also pretty stressful – and until this morning I wasn’t planning to do anything special here for my birthday this year. That’s when I remembered this piece of paper.


Shortly after April’s World Cup of Cereals, I sat in a pub with a friend and put together a hypothetical list of contenders for a future cheese-based follow-up. I’ve been carrying that list around in my wallet ever since (don’t ask), and this morning I finally got round to digging it out.

I’m not going to pretend for one minute that this isn’t completely ridiculous, but then at a time when the news is stuffed full of the most awful, depressing shit, I feel like the ridiculous has a pretty important role to play. As, for many of us, does cheese.

So yes, I’ve now tinkered with that list a bit, whittled it down to 32 worthy combatants, and divvied up those 32 (by random draw) into eight groups. The rules remain roughly the same as last time, though I’m going to condense the timings a bit:

  • All voting via Twitter, starting at 4pm BST today
  • Round 1: 8 groups of 4 (Fri 8th-Sat 9th July)
  • Round 2: 4 groups of 4 (Sat 9th-Sun 10th July)
  • Quarter-Finals (Sun 10th July)
  • Semi-Finals/Final (Mon 11th July)

Check below for the starting line-up, and for updates as the tournament progresses. I decided not to use any kind of seeding system, so there are heavyweight clashes throughout the draw right from the start – lots of big cheeses thrown in together, one might almost say (though probably shouldn’t).

Anyway, here goes…

***Update (11/7)***

After a TITANIC quarter-final battle, involving two sudden-death shootouts, Stilton finally edged past Brie a few minutes ago to complete the line-up for the Final Four. Two English cheeses, one from France and one from Italy will battle it out for fame, glory, and the coveted World Cup of Cheese trophy. Are you excited? I know I am. Voting in the two semi-finals will run through till 1pm BST on Monday, with the championship match kicking off an hour later. Here’s what’s on tap…

Semi Final 1

Stilton vs Cheddar

Semi Final 2

Camembert vs Parmesan


***Update (10/7)***

The second group stage has just finished, which means only eight cheeses remain. Contenders and pretenders have been well and truly separated, and only the strongest(/creamiest/hardest) will go on to contest the quarter-finals. The draw for those four epic match-ups has just taken place, and you can vote on them throughout the day…

Quarter Final 1

Stilton vs Brie

Quarter Final 2

Parmesan vs Halloumi

Quarter Final 3

Smoked Cheddar vs Camembert

Quarter Final 4

Emmental vs Cheddar

***Update (9/7)***

Round 1 is in the books, and some big names have already left the competition. Au revoir, Comté! Adios, Manchego! Arrivederci, Gorgonzola! Um…farvel, Jarlsberg? But even with all of those noble cheeses gone, plenty of old favourites and exciting young thrusters remain. The draw for Round 2 has already taken place, with voting set to commence any minute now on Twitter. Shit is about to get real…

Group 1

  1. Roquefort
  2. Parmesan
  3. Emmental
  4. Wensleydale

Group 2

  1. Stilton
  2. Gouda
  3. Mozzarella
  4. Camembert

Group 3

  1. Halloumi
  2. Smoked Cheddar
  3. Monterey Jack
  4. Pecorino

Group 4

  1. Brie
  2. Gruyere
  3. Cheddar
  4. Feta

Group A

  1. Reblochon
  2. Smoked Cheddar
  3. Pecorino
  4. Ricotta

Group B

  1. Parmesan
  2. Pont-l’Évêque
  3. Gouda
  4. Boursin

Group C

  1. Wensleydale
  2. Provolone
  3. Halloumi
  4. Edam

Group D

  1. Paneer
  2. Gorgonzola
  3. Cheddar
  4. Emmental

Group E

  1. Brie
  2. Époisses
  3. Roquefort
  4. Jarlsberg

Group F

  1. Taleggio
  2. Feta
  3. Manchego
  4. Stilton

Group G

  1. Dolcelatte
  2. Gruyere
  3. Camembert
  4. Leerdammer

Group H

  1. Chevre
  2. Mozzarella
  3. Monterey Jack
  4. Comté
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1 Response to World Cup of Cheese

  1. Not sure if we have to choose a group, but if so, I will go with Group F (Oh, and happy birthday for tomorrow – or nearly today, as it is 23:54)

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