In just a matter of days, Italy will welcome hundreds of cheesemakers and dairy artisans for the 9th edition of Cheese 2013, a biannual food festival sponsored by the Slow Food organization.
Known as the largest cheese festival in the world, Cheese offers visitors the unique opportunity of meeting cheesemakers from far flung places like Tibet, Kenya and Armenia. Diversity is part of the festival's big appeal and you can expect to find rare items like maggot cheese from Sardinia, Tibetan Yak cheese, German mite cheese and Romanian cheese wrapped in bark.
The festival will take place September 20-23 in the small town of Bra, located about an hour south of Turin (in the northwest corner of the boot). Keep your eye out for the Great Hall of Cheese, milk worshops, taste workshops and events like Dinner Dates, where you'll sample forgotten Italian recipes.
You'll be able to wash down all that cheese with artisanal local brews and wines. They'll be tons of Italian street food to sample so be sure to visit on an empty stomach. Visitors should take advantage of the Piedmontese wine region and plan a few day trips to nearby wineries.
Attending Cheese is free but there is a small fee for some of the workshops and events. To get more information, please visit the event website. Here's a cool slideshow of more awesome cheese finds you can expect at the festival.