If you follow me on Instagram, last Thursday you saw my feed blow up with Harmons love. I had the pleasure of attending the most fabulous blogger event hosted by Today’s Mama. I have loved Harmons for quite some time now. I actually workout at a studio right next door to a Harmons. On Saturday mornings I have to make a conscious decision to NOT go anywhere near the bakery. After my hour-long high intensity cardio workout the smell of the fresh baked doughnuts is enough to make me go ‘Hulk’ crazy throughout the store. Between the doughnuts and the fresh baked bread it smells utterly amazing.
The first stop of our event was in the state-of-the-art kitchen with Chef Aaron. I have always wanted to take a cooking class and it’s quite surprising that I haven’t done it yet. It’s been on my bucket list for years. There’s nothing better than a professional giving you tips and tricks and teaching you things that you never knew but wished you had. That was our experience. Not only did we make a deliciously elegant meal together, I learned a lot! Chef Aaron explained and demonstrated several of the techniques for us initially – like how to make risotto, how to properly use a knife, and how to tell that your oil has heated enough in your pan. Once he shared his knowledge we were released in to groups of four and assigned a cooking station where it was our turn to make the yummy lunch!
I had the pleasure of cooking with Debra from Housewife Eclectic, Becky from Utah Sweet Savings, and Michelle from Enjoy Utah. We had such a great time together. All of us were a little nervous about the risotto, but it turned out amazing (I can’t wait to make it again at home). Our meat was cooked perfectly and when everything came together the meal was out of this world. I’ve already scoped out the cooking classes and have my eye on a few to go back and attend. We were at the City Creek location, which is absolutely amazing. The Farmington location is a bit closer to me – so I may try that one.
I wish you could jump through your computer screen and taste just how amazing this meal was. I don’t have the exact name, but it was a pork tenderloin over risotto, asparagus, and parmesan cheese accompanied by lightly cooked kale sprinkled with duck bacon and drizzled with a delicious balsamic sauce. Phew. I think I got it all. Oh, the purple criss-cross cut fry was the cherry on top. Tasted like a yummy potato chip. I know the meal sounds difficult, but it really wasn’t too hard. I was the only food blogger on my team and we came to the conclusion that we could make it at home. So delicious!
After our lunch, we were taken around the store to meet the fantastic people and sample the fare of the bakery, produce, deli, cheese, meat and center store departments. Remember how I said the bakery is utter amazingness? Well it pretty much is. I learned that Harmons buttercream frosting is 100% buttercream and there are only FIVE ingredients. No gross preservatives or additives. Folks. That’s impressive. If their desserts don’t tantalize your tastebuds, the bread will. Geez-o. Maybe it’s because I’m a bread fiend. It gets me every time. The sourdough? Amazing.
There’s a whole case dedicated to everything ‘made fresh in store’. We tasted the guacamole (which I’ve bought before on several occasions) and it’s so delicious. A cool thing I learned about the guac is that there is nothing added to keep it green. The secret is the airtight container. When there is no oxygen present, the avocados won’t brown. We also got a little swig of the fresh made 100% Tangerine juice. I’ll just tell you this. As soon as the tour was over I went back and bought a bottle of that fresh juice. I couldn’t leave without my own bottle. Next time you go – BUY some. They also pointed out that you won’t find any of their fresh cut fruits swimming in juice. When fruit is swimming in juice it means it’s been sitting out long enough for the juice to release from the fruit in to the container. Harmons fruit is fresh, fresh, fresh.
The meat and seafood department doesn’t disappoint. Are you as amazed as I was at how beautiful all of the display cases are? When I first walked in to the City Creek location last summer I was in awe. I actually left the store and remember specifically saying “when you grocery shop here, it’s not just grocery shopping. It’s an experience”. It’s 100% true and even still I feel that way. I love to grocery shop and if I lived closer I would definitely spend my time here. BUT I do have a Harmons near me, and I’m grateful for that too. I wouldn’t mind a newer one ;) . Anyway – back to the meat and seafood. We were able to sample the fresh shrimp. I LOVE shrimp (in fact, I was in Salt Lake the week before and stopped in to Harmons to pick up shrimp for my 5-Ingredient Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta recipe I recently posted). It was so fresh and so delicious I almost bought more. The best part about their shrimp if I remember right, is that it’s never frozen!
As if our bellies weren’t full enough we got to sample many of the awesome pastas that are made fresh daily before moving along to the cheese section. We were also lucky enough to taste fresh made mozzarella – made by the ‘cheese monger’ pictured below. Cheese monger? I officially want that title. I know if there’s a cheese that I want, Harmons will have it. In fact, I went searching for the specialty cheese I used to make my Raspberry Swirl Fondue at the beginning of last month at my local Harmons. If you love fondue, you’ve got to check out that recipe!
Another thing I love about Harmons is that the company is a huge supporter of supporting local. My husband and I are big in to gardening, organic food, and shopping local whenever we can. So hearing about this partnership with locals really resonated with me. From cheeses to chocolates, pickles to popcorn and so many things in between. Isn’t that awesome that such a large company is willing to help the little guy? I’m telling you. I love Harmons.
There is even a dietician on staff. A special checkout lane that’s devoted to promoting healthy eating. If you haven’t checked out My Weight Loss Story you should give it a read. Healthy eating over the last year specifically has become really important to me. Knowing what is in my food, where my food comes from, and buying food that is minimally processed and isn’t loaded with additives, preservatives, msg, and other unnecessary ingredients has become one of my passions. Seeing this feature in the store made my heart pitter patter, and I’m not even joking. It’s not that you can’t buy foods that are unhealthy through the line, it’s that there aren’t any unhealthy choices staring you in the face as you wait to check out. No candy, chips, or junk food. This would be the perfect line to go through with children!!
Look at this aisle. Just look at it. This is how every part of the store looks. Absolutely perfect. Every time I’ve been there it has looked exactly like that. I’m telling you – it’s an experience. I wasn’t kidding when I said that. Every employee is so kind, helpful, and knowledgeable. They make you feel welcome in the store.
What a wonderful experience and opportunity. I am so glad that I was able to participate in everything from the chef demonstration to the hands on cooking, the sampling, the touring and most of all the education of their history and values. I was a Harmons shopper before, and I’ll now be a Harmons shopper for life! **Stay tuned for an upcoming post I’ve got in store for you. One of the delicious drinks we sipped on during our lunch was a virgin Sangria that was out of this world. I’ve never had the real thing, and after tasting the virgin variety I don’t think I’ll ever need to. Can’t wait to share!