Cheese fanatics wept when this year’s Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake was cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. This is a beloved annual event held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill, a steep hill near Gloucester, England. Slated for May 25, the event was officially called off after event organizers released an official statement on the Cooper’s Hill cheese rolling Facebook page. Since then, things have been relatively quiet on the cheese rolling scene—until one Twitter user revealed a truly touching update.
Yesterday, Twitter user @SuziOvens tweeted an article snippet explaining that, back in May, the cheese roll organizers marked the occasion in a very sweet, teeny-tiny, COVID-friendly manner: by rolling a symbolic Babybel cheese down the empty hill. @SuziOvens added: “When we can’t do our weird traditions we WILL replace it with something weirder.”
Babybel UK replied that it felt honored to join the tradition in their own small way.
For centuries, the annual cheese rolling has attracted hordes of revelers who gather to chase a nine-pound Double Gloucester cheese down a dangerously steep hill. The cheese is tossed by a dedicated patrician known as the Master of Cheese, and the winner of the race gets to keep it.
The event is a dangerous endeavor in the best of times, with dozens of injuries on the books thanks to falls, collisions, and aggressively bouncing cheeses. Like many favorite pastimes, cheese rolling was rendered impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic. But there’s something undeniably sweet about the symbolic Babybel rolling. It suggests that, although the world may look quite a bit different right now, the great people of Britain will press on to chase an enormous, stinky cheese another day.