Published March 8, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
The weather was frigid at the first annual cheese curling competition last month in Greensboro. Luckily, Vermont cheese in various forms helped the roughly 450 attendees stay warm at the event cohosted by the Highland Center for the Arts and cheesemaker Jasper Hill Farm.
People danced to the tunes of the Brass Balagan band as they waited in line for plates of roasted potatoes blanketed with hot, melted cheese scraped from half wheels of Jasper Hill's Alpine-style Whitney.
On the community ice rink, the action involved whole wheels of nonedible Jasper Hill test cheeses. The large, mold-mottled rounds served as surprisingly effective doppelgängers for curling stones during a vigorous three-hour tournament, which raised more than $1,600 for the Vermont Foodbank.
Fifty-eight teams with names such as Cheese Whiz and the Gouda Guys competed with varying degrees of expertise and good-natured trash talk. "It's a full-body workout," local teacher Kelly Robinson commented.
Robinson's husband, David Kelley, is a town recreation committee member who championed the public rink and the tourney. "I fell flat on my face, kissed the ice," he admitted, but he was undeterred. "I hope it becomes an international event."
"I've been dreaming about pulling something like this off for years," Jasper Hill cofounder Mateo Kehler said.
He compared the sweeping that deftly coaxes cheese wheels to the bull's-eye — or "button," in curling parlance — to the action in a cheese cave involving the "constant and continual intervention in the trajectory of a ripening cheese."
Kehler added, "We're interested in having more fun."
Part-time Greensboro resident Polly Parsons agreed that "curling with cheese sounded pretty entertaining, certainly something I'd never seen before." She and her friends had just planned to stop by briefly, but soon they were eating and curling. "We got the cheeses across the ice," she said with a laugh. "Sometimes they even got close to where they were supposed to go."
The original print version of this article was headlined "Cheese-Capades"
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