An inspector checks a wheel of Reggiano cheese at the Parmigiano-Reggiano storehouse in Bibbiano, Italy. Earthquakes rocked the region, sending the cheese toppling. Marco Vasini/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Marco Vasini/AP

A judge smells a block of cheese at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wis. Judges carefully appraise a cheese's look, smell and texture before they taste it and spit it out. Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association hide caption

itoggle caption Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

When they work well, beer and cheese pairings offer both harmony and contrast, says Garrett Oliver, editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer. See a list of pairings below. Claire O'Neill /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Claire O'Neill /NPR

Americans eat about 31 pounds of cheese per person each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com