Mariah Christensen loves cheese. If you think this is an overstatement, you simply need to listen to the latest episode of the Taste of Harmons Podcast, as Mariah rejoins Chef Lesli and Brandon on a trip around the world…of cheeses.
Mariah is the specialty cheese buyer for Harmons, and she has definitely earned that title with her vast wealth of knowledge and great love for all things cheese related. Harmons has always encouraged associates to educate themselves and learn about the products they are selling, and Mariah is a stellar example of that.
She’s a certified cheese professional, which takes months of study and culminates with an intensive exam. But Mariah didn’t stop there. In 2018 she was nominated and inducted into the Garde et Jure for the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, making her the second person in Utah to be recognized with this honor.
Where in the world is this cheese from?
While Harmons carries a lot of cheese made in the United States, we also carry cheeses made in countries all over the world, including Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, and Italy.
Mariah’s job has taken her many places around the globe, including a memorable trip to King Island, a part of Australia’s state of Tasmania. Harmons carries several of the cheeses made by the King Island Dairy at our cheese islands.
Mariah also talks about the king of cheeses, Parmigiano-Reggiano. It comes to us from a family-run farm outside of Parma, Italy. According to Mariah, we sell 20 wheels of this a month, and since that’s 80-90 pounds of cheese, it’s definitely taking hold among cheese lovers in Utah.
According to Mariah, Parmigiano-Reggiano is a staple needed in any kitchen. She uses it to enrich a stew, or mix in with meatballs, chicken parmesan, and more. She says a small amount can provide a tremendous amount of flavor.
Cows, Goats, Sheep, and...Water Buffalo?
When you think cheese, you probably think “cow,” but Mariah assures us this is not always the case. Harmons actually carries some cheeses made from water buffalo milk, along with a few cheeses from goats and sheep.
On Mariah’s bucket list of foods to try are camel’s milk and reindeer milk. With her taste for adventure she’s the perfect fit as our specialty cheese merchandiser.
If you love your cheese, you’ll want to listen to this humorous and informative edition of our podcast and be prepared to head to Harmons afterward to explore all the cheeses of the world.
Mariah Christensen is a certified cheese professional, and in charge of the certification program for all of Harmons cheesemongers. Mariah was also the second person in the state of Utah to be inducted into the Garde et Jure for the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, an incredible honor. The Guilde is comprised of 6,000 members representing 35 countries and is dedicated to educating and maintaining knowledge and respect for the art of cheese making.
As the specialty cheese buyer for Harmons, Mariah loves to share her passion with others, and she has traveled all over the globe to develop relationships with some of the world’s top cheese makers.