Thursday, 13 December 2012


Never bettered - a piece of Stilton
According to the reputable scientific publication Nature scientists have recently discovered evidence of cheese and cheese making dating back 7,500 years, to the Neolithic period, in Poland.

This is now accepted as the oldest cheese discovered by archaeologists, beating by several years the elderly cheese in an equally elderly sandwich discovered once in a dusty corner of go ahead Edinburgh cricket club's home dressing room. Carbon dating technology was not available to the club at the time of the sample's discovery, but local research and anecdote suggested that sandwiches of similar character to it were last seen no later than the time of the Picts. Local memory could not say when the Picts had last fulfilled a fixture at Carlton. Scholarly anxiety about dating the sample is now overturned by the new Polish discovery.

However there are many uncertainties about the discovery. In particular Fantasy Bob is sceptical about its authenticity. As far as he understands it cricket was not present in Neolithic Poland so the need for cheese to play its essential role in the cricket tea does not arise. Why would the Neolithic Poles have invented it? There is no evidence that they have invented any other elements of the cricket tea such as chocolate cake. There is therefore more work for scholars to do.

Poland is still in the top ten cheese producers in the world, although the table is led by the USA which produces about 1/3rd of the world's cheese. The majority of this probably goes to make cheeseburgers. The United Kingdom does not feature in the top ten world cheese producers, despite the fact that there are over 700 varieties of British cheese. In 1962, Charles de Gaulle was famously quoted as saying 'How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?' - but that may understate the number of cheese varieties in France which can be reckoned to be nearer 1000. However it may not understate the challenge of governing France. A country without cricket will always have such problems, with or without cheese.

The top cricketing cheese producer is Australia. Australia is also the top cricketing cheese consumer - it is 17th a long way behind the top consumer, Greece, which consumes over 30kg per head of population. The UK languishes at 20 in this list, consuming 11 kg. How does Greece do it - there are no cricket teas to swell consumption.

FB is partial to a bit of cheese. His all time favourite cheese is the English classic Stilton - regrettably all too rarely found as a cricket tea sandwich filling. Test Match Quality.


  1. The Greeks eat Feta cheese in their enormous salads, which may explain their high consumption. Grilled Haloumi cheese and bacon are also a staple in the hot sandwich line there. However I have to concur with FB here - nothing beats a good Stilton and it is good to hear that production in Derbyshire, one of only 3 counties permitted to use the name, has recently restarted after a 3 year break.