In a small pavilion on the outskirts of Claremont Showground yesterday, nine dairy judges sniffed, chewed and spat their way through more than 80 cheese samples from across Australia.
Clad in starched lab coats, the judges spent about four hours picking out the winning cheeses for the 2013 IGA Perth Royal Show dairy competition.
They chewed their way through everything from cheddar to camembert, turning each sample into a paste in their mouths before spitting it into a bin and cleansing their palates with apples and water crackers.
Chief judge Russell Smith said the panel considered the look, smell, taste and texture of each sample. "Each cheese is a bit different and an attribute in one cheese might be a defect in another cheese," he said.
"That's what makes cheesemaking and cheese judging so fascinating. It's all called cheese and it all comes from milk, but that's where it ends."
Mr Smith will oversee the tasting of more than 300 samples of cheese, ice-cream, milk drinks, cream, yoghurt and chocolate this week.
Awards for the dairy competition will be announced on July 24.