About 1,000 international cheese makers hit town this week for the American Cheese Society‘s annual meeting, where more than 1,200 cheeses will be judged. Wisconsin has always done exceptionally well in this competition, and this year promises to be no different, though Illinois cheese makers like Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm should make a strong showing. Much of the conference is closed to the public, but on Saturday, July 26, Wednesday, July 23, there’s a “festival of cheese” offering tastings of the wares–it’s $85. Better yet, on Sunday, July 27, after the conference closes,  Kendall College is hosting a cheese sale that’s free and open to the public. Many of the cheeses represented at the judging will be on sale, and prices are reportedly quite low (so that vendors don’t have to ship their cheeses all the way back home).

Festival of Cheese, Sat 7/26,  Wed 7/23 5:30-9 PM, Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan, 502-583-3783, cheesesociety.org, $85

Cheese sale, Sun 7/27, 10 AM-1 PM, Kendall College, 900 N. Branch, 502-583-3783