A Cheese-Themed Hotel Room Is Popping Up in London

Cafe Rouge
Cafe Rouge

Winter is the perfect time to lock yourself indoors with a stockpile of cheese to keep you company. You could clear out your local cheese shop and do this at home, or, if you're the winner of a new contest hosted by Café Rouge, you can do it in luxury.

Between January 29 and February 6, the UK-based French bistro chain will put up nine winners and their guests in what it claims to be the world's first cheese-themed hotel. The Cheese Suite is designed to promote Café Rouge's cheese-heavy winter menu.

Concept art for cheese suite.
Cafe Rouge

The accommodations in Camden, London, have all the amenities of a typical hotel, plus plenty of special features for fromage fanatics. Upon arriving, guests will be greeted by cheese wallpaper, cheese bedding, and giant cheese art installations. Even the board games and toiletries in the suite are cheese-themed.

If the dairy-centric decor works up their appetite, guests can nibble on the cheese and crackers in the room or call the cheese hotline to get more substantial dishes delivered to their door. Items on the menu include halloumi frites, a camembert and raisin chutney baguette, and a beef bourguignon burger stuffed with raclette and comte cheeses.

Concept art for cheese suite.
Cafe Rouge

The on-demand cheese, as well as the suite itself, are complimentary. At the end of their free stay, guests will have the option to donate to Café Rouge’s charity partner, the Prince’s Trust, an organization dedicated to vulnerable young people.

To make your funky dreams come true, enter for the chance for you and a friend to win a one-night stay at the Cheese Suite through Café Rouge's website. The competition, open to UK and Channel Island residents only, closes on January 21. Here are some cheesy facts to brush up on in the meantime.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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Instead of Taco Tuesday, Sweden Celebrates Taco Friday (or Taco Fredag)

ptpower, iStock via Getty Images
ptpower, iStock via Getty Images

If you think Swedish cuisine is limited to meatballs and herring, you've never celebrated Fredagsmys—the Swedish version of Taco Tuesday. The day, which translates to "cozy Fridays," is a chance for Swedes to get together with loved ones and eat comfort food at the end of a long week. And instead of indulging in more traditional Swedish fare, the Fredagsmys cuisine of choice is Tex-Mex.

Fredagsmys takes the already-Americanized taco and puts a Swedish spin on it. On Taco Fredag (Taco Friday), ingredients like tortillas, ground meat, peppers, and tomatoes are laid out smörgåsbord-style. The spread may also include some toppings that are rarely served with tacos outside of Scandinavia, such as yogurt, cucumber, peanuts, and pineapple. After assembling their meal, diners enjoy it in a cozy spot in front of the TV, ideally surrounded by pillows and candles.

The Swedish tradition of starting the weekend with a taco feast has only been around for a couple of decades. In the 1990s, the Swedish potato chip company OLW introduced the slogan “Now it’s cozy Friday time” into the national lexicon. Old El Paso capitalized on this concept with its own ad campaign showing Swedes how to assemble tacos at home. The Swedish spice company Santa Maria noticed the emerging trend and further popularized the idea of eating tacos on Fridays in its TV advertisements.

Tacos may be the food that's most closely associated with Fredagsmys today, but any quick junk food is appropriate for the occasion. Burgers and pizza are also popular items, as are candy, chips, and popcorn. The meal makes up just one part of the night: Settling in on the couch in pajamas to watch TV with loved ones is just as important as the food.

Making time for comforting indoor activities is a necessity in Sweden, where the weather is harsh and daylight is scarce for much of the year. The Danish do something similar with hygge, although tacos aren't an explicit part of that tradition.