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The exam tests cheesemongers' mastery of all things cheese, including cheese making, ripening, storage, handling, nutrition and more. Those who pass the exam are part of an elite few who have mastered all aspects of cheese, from farm to counter. Whole Foods Market now has 147 Certified Cheese Professionals, the largest number of certified cheese experts in the world.
"Whole Foods Market cheesemongers are as passionate as they are talented when it comes to cheese, and we have worked hard to train them to earn this highest honor with classes, group study, and even field trips to dairies," said
Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market. "Our Team Members love sharing their deep knowledge with our shoppers, so helping them become certified is really a win-win-win for the cheesemonger, Whole Foods Market and our customers."
Whole Foods Market cheesemongers who passed this year's exam represent 2 countries, 21 states and 67 stores.
The exam was held
July 31, in conjunction with the 30
th Annual American Cheese Society conference in
Madison, Wis. Certification is valid for three years and is renewable for additional three-year periods through a formal recertification process.
To commemorate this accomplishment, Whole Foods Market teamed up with several cheesemakers to have its 2012 Certified Cheese Professionals make special cheeses, which will be available in its stores nationwide starting this fall. The cheeses and cheesemongers include:
MT TAM from Cowgirl Creamery, by Leah McFadden and Danielle Slater from northern California
Humboldt Fog from Cypress Grove Chevre, by Lisa Purrington from the Fairview store, Brad Daschbach from the Arabella store and Kristin Paine from the Cambie store
Asiago from SAXON Creamery, by Kari Foley from Florida
Gran Queso from EMMI Roth USA, by Tiffany Cunningham from the global cheese team
Bonne Bouche from Vermont Butter and Creamery, by Shannon Tallman from the Portland, Maine store