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Seventy-seven Whole Foods Market cheesemongers passed the second annual American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional exam.
Overall, 132 individuals passed the American Cheese Society’s 2013 Certified Cheese Professional Exam, which was held on July 31 in Madison, Wis.
Now in its second year, the rigorous exam tests cheesemongers' mastery of all things cheese, including cheesemaking, ripening, storage, handling, nutrition and more. The Austin, Texas-based natural food retailer now has 147 Certified Cheese Professionals, the largest number of certified cheese experts in the world. Whole Foods cheesemongers who passed this year's exam are from the U.S. and Canada, 21 states and 67 stores.
"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."
To commemorate this accomplishment, Whole Foods 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.