It happens with long-term relationships; at some point the romance will fade and it takes some effort to reignite the spark. A couple can go through the daily motions of house chores, family schedules and work stress, slowly losing that intimate connection between each other. Before they know it, they’re on opposites ends of the couch watching another boring TV show, not talking, feeling like roommates more than partners. This can be a “make it or break it” point. If someone doesn’t pull out all the stops to turn things around, sometimes the relationship is lost…forever.
I’ve had a long-term relationship with dining in Fort Collins, and honestly, I feel like we’ve lost a little bit of that spark. Like two partners who are just co-existing, my heart longs for something more. My lustful eyes and taste buds wander to other exciting dining cultures, wishing my loyal Fort Collins industry would change.
Just as I feel like I’m settling for “good enough,” something magical happens and the spark is back. Flavor and atmosphere wrap around my heart and tongue like the sweet embrace of a soul mate and I’m reminded of how much I really do love my relationship with the Fort Collins dining community. After a streak of mediocre food and bland reviews, The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop has pulled me back into my love affair with dining out in Fort Collins.
The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop is one of the most charming spaces in Old Town. Located on Pine Street just around the corner from Rasta Pasta, the Hines Family (husband and wife Dean and Nancy, and Dean’s brother, Nate) opened this culinary delight early this spring. Nate has an extensive background including a culinary degree and years as an Executive Chef.
While they offer a constantly changing selection of cheeses, The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop is more than just a place to purchase artisan craft-cheese to take home. They are also a Bistro with wine flights, olives, freshly baked baguettes, and chareuteries to add to your cheese flight tasting. This makes it a perfect place for an intimate culinary experience, and even more so, a wonderfully romantic location for a date.
Joined by Serving Up Fort Collins blogger, Andrea (who will be sharing her perspective of our experience this Sunday), we sat at a small table near the window soaking up the warm sun and extensive menu options. We decided to go for a splurge and enjoy as much as we could on their menu. We each ordered a flight of wine. I ordered the Red Wine flight designed by Norm Koch from Jay’s Bistro. Andrea ordered the French Wine Flight designed by Claude Vallance. They also provide a list of cheese pairing suggestions for each flight, which is nice.
You are free to create your own cheese flights with as much or as little variety as you’d like. Each portion per person is an ounce of cheese for $2.00. The menu groups each cheese by region and provides a tasting description. When Nate is working, he is more than thrilled to share his knowledge and expertise at the table. So, no worries if you feel uncertain, there is always someone willing to guide you in the right direction!
These are the cheeses we selected for our tasting with the descriptions from the menu:
- Emmentaler from Switzerland: Also known as Swiss, it’s soft, fruity and savory.
- Fromager d’Affinois from France: A silkier texture than Brie with a mild, delicate flavor with notes of salt and hints of mushroom.
- Drunken Goat from Spain: Soaked in Doble Pasta Wine; sweet and smooth, delicately grapey, mild and fruity flavor.
- Old Rotterdam Gouda from Holland: A great substitute for Jack or Cheddar.
- Gouda Extra Aged from Holland: Rich and sweet; toffee-like.
- Chimay Grand Cru from Belgium: Semi-hard cheese, creamy and fresh.
We also ordered the Bison Summer Sausage, olives and Baguette with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil to go along with our flights of cheese.
We laughed and tasted bits of cheese in between sips of wine. We nibbled on olives and Summer Sausage as we watched people talk about the delicious flavors at their tables with Nate. As night creeped upon us, starry-eyed couples came in for dates, hand in hand at tables. It was lovely.
My favorite selections from our flights were the Fromager d’Affinois and the Extra Aged Gouda. I am a Brie-lover through and through, and the d’ Affinois was a seductive texture with a rich, creamy flavor. The Extra Aged Gouda provided a sharp tang with bits of crunchy crystals. Oh, my. It was incredible.
Nate would occasionally visit our table to see how we were doing and talk shop. If we had a question about any cheese on the menu, he had a wealth of knowledge to share. He often brought us samples of cheeses we had questions about but didn’t order. We tried Caciotta with Truffle from Italy, which tasted like an overwhelming earthy truffle flavor captured in wax (the only cheese I didn’t like). He also let us sample the Barely Buzzed from the US, which had a rind of espresso, honey, salt, and lavender. Delicious!!
I left that night glowing with excitement from first-date fascination. The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop wooed me with culinary delights and a beautiful atmosphere, rekindling my infatuation with the delicacies that Fort Collins has to offer.
The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop
216 Pine Street
No website available, but they are on Facebook
Kid-Friendly? I wouldn’t bring my kids
Parking: Old Town street parking
Healthy Options? Controlled portions are up to you!
Budget-Friendly? Very. Each portion is $2
Recent Health Inspection: Excellent