By Sue Saunders
Last year Tigers fans witnessed the cutting of the famous Big Bell Cheese at the Queen Victoria Market on the morning after its grand final win. What about this year?
Dennis Husseini is the proprietor of the Pavillion store that specialises in high quality cheese and other delicatessen products. Just a few days after he bought the store in 2005, he met market tour guides, Judy, Geraldine and Helen.
When they came around to meet Dennis and to explain their promotional activities, one of them said “Where’s the Big Bell Cheese, Dennis?” Dennis replied: “What cheese?”
“Oh my goodness!” they said. “Don’t touch the Bell! It’s one of the highlights of our tour! Don’t sell it or cut it. The cheese was made in 1987. There were three of them delivered to the market back then and yours is the only one left.”
The now 31-year-old, Big Bell Cheese became a feature of Dennis’ store displayed prominently on the back shelf or sometimes on the front counter. This famous cheese is known as Auricchio Provolone Piccante, made in Cremona, a province in Northern Italy – south east of Milan. Evidently the cheeses are made in old church bells to give them their interesting shape and large size.
Dennis and his family, being avid Richmond supporters thought that, should Richmond win the 2017 AFL grand final, they would cut the old cheese on the morning of the next day to share with their customers and other Richmond supporters.
Well, the dream eventuated and early Sunday morning, the big cheese was cut. Surprisingly, the cheese was still quite tasty although a little dark at the top. Many people attended the special ceremony and were brave enough to taste the then 30-year-old cheese.
What has happened since? Well the cheese makers in northern Italy were delighted to hear the story and told Dennis that they could still make large bell cheeses. These are not part of their normal product range. They are extremely special. In fact, the ones that are made today, on special order, are solid throughout, whereas the 31-year-old cheese had a hollow area inside.
Dennis decided to order another cheese in the hope that Richmond might win the grand final again and to replace the original cheese thus keeping up the tradition. The cheese was ordered in October last year and took three months to make and deliver.
At the time of writing, Richmond was on top of the AFL ladder. Dennis and quite a large number of Richmond supporters at the market are hopeful of success again this year. As you might guess, Dennis has promised to cut the new cheese if the Tigers win the 2018 grand final.
If they do, be sure to be at the Pavillion store the morning after at 10.30am for a special cheese tasting. Otherwise the cheese will wait, as its forebear did, until Richmond next achieves the coveted prize.
Notice in the photo, on the top right-hand corner shelf, the old cheese has been painted yellow and the Richmond sign draped across.