By DINESH RAMDE
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The World Championship Cheese Contest has traditionally been a low-key Wisconsin affair, a big deal for the winners but not a visual spectacle that attracted an audience.
Not this year. Foodies have become so interested in handcrafted fare that Wednesday's artisan cheese competition in Madison has sold out all 400 tickets.
Jeanne (JEE'-nee) Carpenter of Wisconsin Cheese Originals says the finals used to appeal only to a "super cheese geek." But she says ticketholders are excited about getting to sample 15 top entries, mingle with Wisconsin cheesemakers and meet the international panel of judges.
Madison retiree Jennifer Ondrejka and her husband have tickets. She says she's looking forward to great cheeses and chatting with other cheeseophiles.
The contest features 2,500 cheese and butter entries from nearly two dozen nations.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.