A new haven for cheese enthusiasts opens soon, specializing in domestic farmstead and artisan varieties. Click for all the cheesy details.
Over the Rhine has recently experienced many one-of-a-kind developments, but five-year OTR residents and cheese enthusiasts Stephanie Webster and her husband Dave are launching the premise for an entirely new market: The Rhined, a cheese shop opening in OTR specializing in domestic artisan and farmstead cheeses, set to open in Fall 2016.
Their love for cheese began after Stephanie’s experience working in fine-dining restaurants, exposing her to cheese programs throughout Cincinnati. Stephanie enjoyed the relationship that cheese had with celebration. “There is something about amazing cheese,” says Stephanie, “that feels really celebratory, and who doesn’t love celebrating?”
As their interest in the food grew, so did their desire to experiment. In fact, three years ago, Stephanie and Dave began purchasing their own milk from naturally raised, grass-fed cows on a farm in Hillsboro, OH. Their hobby for cheese soon became a passion.
“We were really amazed at the seasonality of the milk” says Stephanie, “it tasted different in the summer when the cows are on pasture than in the winter when the cows are on hay. We started playing around with our milk, making yogurt and sweet butter, then cultured butter and some simple cheeses at home– fromage blanc, mozzarella, ricotta.”
There’s a distinction between the cheese they create, and the cheese that is readily available at supermarkets. Unlike commodity cheeses, or mass-produced cheese made from mass-produced milk, Stephanie and Dave seem to devote more of their attention to farmstead and artisan cheeses. These differ from commodity cheeses, by the fact that they are produced with a less mechanized and more hands-on process, with high quality milk coming directly from the farm.
Amazed by the chemistry and biology of cheese-making, Stephanie and Dave began dreaming about opening their own shop and continuing their home-grown practice, as well introducing consumers to the industry of other farmstead and artisan cheeses throughout the country.
The dream became a reality when they connected with the supportive building owner at 1737 Elm St. in Over the Rhine, and they took the leap to open a storefront.
The name of the shop, “The Rhined,” pays homage to the OTR neighborhood they love. “The energy is intoxicating,” says Stephanie, “and we are excited to live and work in the neighborhood we adore.”
In preparation for the opening of The Rhined, Stephanie and Dave have spent a large amount of time researching and traveling to gain more experience and knowledge about the cheese industry. Recently, the couple went on a cross-country cheese tour, visiting cheese shops in Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Madison, Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta.
Stephanie and Dave even visited 20-year cheese monger Steve Jones at his nationally recognized restaurant in Portland, Cheese Bar. Along with equipping his restaurant with a rotating menu of artisan and farmstead cheeses, Jones also is a co-founder of the Portland cheese festival, The Wedge and teaches at The Cheese School of San Francisco.
In store, prices of cheese will vary between 12 to 40 dollars per pound, however cheese isn’t the only product Stephanie and Dave plan on carrying. “The ultimate cheese accompaniments,” according to Stephanie, will also be sold alongside the exquisite cheese selection. This includes charcuterie, jams, honeys, crackers, baguettes, cheese cutting utensils and of course, beer and wine.
The husband-wife duo is hoping for an October opening, if no construction delays. For updates on the grand opening, and to learn more about The Rhined, visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/therhined.