Art of Cheese, an exclusive cheese festival created for the world's biggest cheese lovers, taking place in downtown Madison, Wis., and the surrounding communities, is set from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1

Hosted by Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, this first-time event promises exclusive experiences and tours with behind-the-scenes access to creameries and dairy farms, cheese yoga, a Bubbles and Cheese Brunch and a Cheese Fair Off the Square. The festival will also have interactive classes on everything from cheese pairing to crafting and learning the art of affinage, and a chance to meet (and even dine with) award-winning Master Cheesemakers. The highlight of the weekend will be the first-ever Wisconsin Cheese Ball (the kind where you dance and eat cheese).

"Our research shows that people who really love food plan travel around great food experiences, and we know there are people all over the country who are extremely passionate about Wisconsin Cheese," said Suzanne Fanning, chief marketing officer of Wisconsin Cheese and senior vice president of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. "We set out to plan the ultimate destination cheese festival of food lovers' dreams, and I think you'll discover that's exactly what we did!"

The complete lineup of events is designed for the truly cheese obsessed. Experience America's Dairyland through 16 unique limited ticketed events, including:

  • Exclusive Excursions: You'll board a bus and be swept away for a day you'll never forget with access to creameries, farms, cheese experts, award-winning chefs, makers and more.
    • A Journey to the Heartland of Wisconsin Cheese: Spend the day in Southern Wisconsin's Green County with visits to two legendary creameries followed by a coursed lunch at Seven Acre Dairy and ending with a lesson from Marissa Mullen of @thatcheeseplate.
    • Aged to Perfection: A Bourbon & Cheese Excursion: Kick the day off with a cheese sensory class at the Center for Dairy Research, followed by a bourbon and cheese tasting and catered lunch by James Beard Award-nominated chef Daniel Fox at J. Henry & Sons Bourbon.
    • Breaking the Mold in Cheese & Architecture: Start the day visiting the farm and creamery at Uplands Cheese. Then we'll make our way to lunch & a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright designed Taliesin with James Beard Award-nominated chef and host of Wisconsin Foodie, Luke Zahm, who will draw inspiration from local cheeses.
    • Cheesemaking 101: Science for Cheese Geeks: Take a mini course in cheese science at the UW's Center for Dairy Research. Then have lunch at Cadre Restaurant with a group of Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers.
  • The Wisconsin Cheese Ball at Garver Feed Mill: Boogie with Blue, romp with Ricotta, spin with Swiss, or hop with Havarti; it's a cheese party featuring music and cheesemaking royalty. For every ticket sold a donation of cheese will be made to a local food bank.
  • Classes & Seminars at Various Venues Around Madison. Join James Beard Award-winning author such as Laura Werlin, cheese gurus like Liz Thorpe of The People's Cheese™, as well as James Beard Award-nominated chef Luke Zahm to reveal new wonders of Wisconsin Cheese.
  • Cheese Fair & Marketplace: The Cheese Fair Off the Square is open to the public alongside the Dane County Farmer's Market. This pop-up market is your one-stop shop for sampling and purchasing your new favorite cheese directly from makers from around the state.