GREEN BAY - When most people mention cheese and Lambeau Field, they're talking about head wear.
But this week, the stadium plays host to the United States Championship Cheese Contest.
It's the event that cheese fans like Francis Webber wait for.
"I'm a blue cheese devotee. I really love them," he gushes. "My wife makes me a Manhattan every night with blue cheese-stuffed olives."
He and other cheese enthusiasts are taking in the sights, the sounds, and of course the smells of the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.
"It's just the aroma it gives off, a special aroma that just, it's very appealing to me," said Webber, admiring a blue-veined beauty on the chopping block.
The judges, mostly cheesemakers and purchasers from across the country, have more than 1,800 cheeses on their plate for the two day competition.
And they have a very precise way of judging the cheese.
"They're interested in the odor that comes from the cheese. And then they feel of it with their hands. They feel to get the body of the cheese. And then the last thing they do is actually taste it," said chief judge emeritus Bill Schlinsog.
Folks who came out to the cheese championships say their favorite part is trying the cheese. But when the judges have a taste, they actually have to spit it out.
"We roll it around in our taste buds. We breathe out through our nose. And then they spit it out. They don't swallow it because if they do it becomes part of their breathing. They'll cleanse their palate with grapes or an apple," said Schlinsog.
"I would want to eat it. I wouldn't want to waste it, it doesn't make sense, but that's the judging," said Greg Rich, a cheese fan from Denmark, Wisconsin.
Many of the judges and entries come from Wisconsin. They say there's no better place to host a championship of this kind.
"I'm a third generation cheesemaker, so I've been involved in it all my life. I like making cheese. I love eating cheese. It's a way of life in Wisconsin," said Terry Lensmire, who works for Agropur in Luxemburg.
Those who've had a front row seat to the action say they plan on supporting the local winners by picking up a chunk of a champion when it's released in specialty stores.
Wednesday evening, the Championship Cheese Contest gives back to Paul's Pantry.
There's a benefit where you can taste the winners, and chat with cheese experts. Tickets are $25.
Admission from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday is free and open to the public in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
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