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Welsh Rabbit makes enjoying gourmet cheeses accessible

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The Fort Collins community has embraced local business, the Welsh Rabbit.

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Inspired by a cheese shop in Denver, co-owners Dean Hines, Nancy Hines and Nate Hines opened the Welsh Rabbit in Old Town 2012.

The Hines family thought a cheese shop would fit in with the popular community supported agriculture trend in Fort Collins, but they had no clue it would take off the way it did, according to Dean Hines.

“[The Welsh Rabbit] was an immediate success,” Dean Hines said. “It was exactly what you hope for when you open a business.”

The shop’s cases are constantly filled with an assortment of large hunks of cheese, and employees encourage tasting. Their mentality is, “If you see it, you can try it.”

Whether a customer wants a small taste or hefty slice, the Welsh Rabbit can “cut and wrap to order,” said Dean Hines. That means that workers can cut a piece of cheese down to fit any budget.

For customers feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices, workers are happy to provide recommendations and describe flavor profiles to customers, according to Dean Hines.

“I read a lot about the cheeses and try learn the whole process,” said long-time Welsh Rabbit employee Cody Cook. “And I taste each of them so I’ll know what I’m talking about. Each cheese really is completely different.”

The Welsh Rabbit also sells small size, pre-cut cheeses called “nubbins.”

“Our nubbins are just little bits and ends,” Cook said. “They are basically our smaller pieces that we wrap up and they are all under $5. They’re a great way to try something new without making a huge commitment.”

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Because they cater to a wide variety of people and budgets with their customization, the Welsh Rabbit has a steady stream of customers from the beginning.

In just the first 18 months, the brand has already evolved to include a separate cheese bistro.

The original Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop is now just around the corner from the added Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro. Much like the shop, the bistro caters to a wide range of people and budgets.

With a full menu of cheeses, wines and meats, “two people can come in, get cheeses and a flight of wine for under $20,” Dean Hines said.

Dean Hines said the shop hopes to remove some of the intimidation factors associated with cheese and wine.

“(We want to) reclaim ‘highbrow foods’ for the everyday person,” Dean Hines said.

Collegian A&E Reporter Madison Wittman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @madiwitt.

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