Fromage homage to French troops serving in Gloucester
By Sarah Wood | 15th July 2020
French soldiers serving in Gloucester have been thanked for their role during the ongoing coronavirus crisis - with a Double Gloucester cheese gifted to them by the city.
The wheel of cheese was presented to the French contingent serving with NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) for Bastille Day.
At the start of the coronavirus crisis in March, the French Army (L'Armée de Terre) officers deployed to London as part of a group of specialist military planners from the Gloucester-based NATO headquarters.
The cheese was offered by the city to thank them for their assistance during the pandemic, as well as to acknowledge their 10-year presence in Gloucester as part of the UK-led corps.
The Double Gloucester was presented at Cooper's Hill, the location of the world-famous cheese-rolling competition.
The handmade cheese was produced by Smart's Farm in the Severn Vale, which provides the cheeses for the annual event.
Mayor of Gloucester Councillor Kate Haigh said: "Gloucester city is very proud to be the home of NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, and on the occasion of Bastille Day, we are delighted to present our French troops with our most famous local product, an entire Double Gloucester cheese.
"I recommend that they eat it and not roll it down a hill as part of their celebrations."
She continued: "The French have been based at Imjin Barracks for a decade as part of the ARRC, and we are very happy that they continue to make Gloucester their home.
"We are particularly thankful for the assistance they have given the British people during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
"I hope our shared friendship and support strengthens and sustains in the future."
Major Emmanuel of the French Army, who serves in the corps' headquarters, said: "This year is definitely a special national day for me, because I am in the UK and, because of Covid, there is no big celebration.
"I've heard about Double Gloucester, but I haven't tried it yet.
"You know, France is a 400-cheese country, so I will try it with my French colleagues and compare it with French cheese. And maybe we will come back to you and say who wins."
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