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For the Love of Cheese

Dobbs & Bishop Fine Cheese Shop Opens in Scarsdale Village
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Maroon Staff
Dobbs & Bishop has a lengthy menu displaying all of the cheese varieties for sale. The list includes cheeses from goats, cows, and sheep!

A wave of sharp saltiness hits first, but it quickly collapses across the tongue into a nostalgic, babybell-esque flavor. It’s like an elevated brie, with slightly less sweetness and a stronger, creamier, lingering aftertaste. This triple cream cheese is Delices de Bourgogne, the most popular flavor at Dobbs & Bishop Fine Cheese Shop.

Every day for nearly two years stood a blackboard with the words “coming soon” on it. A few months in, peoples’ excitement dwindled at the prospect of a new cheese shop. A year in, people believed it was never going to open at all. The fictitious cheese shop was a running joke for the last several months. Behind the scenes, however, owners Kevin McNeill and Ruth Walter were working hard to get their store open. Between a death in the family, supply chain issues, and an absentee contractor, it was a process much longer than they intended. Once they’d received everything needed, the shop was up and running in just two weeks.

Already filled with a steady stream of customers in the first few days of business, Dobbs & Bishop has been met with a “very welcoming Scarsdale community,” Walter stated.

It’s been fifteen years since McNeill and Walter first opened shop in Bronxville. At the time, they were new to running a store and had much less knowledge about cheese than they do today, but the couple has worked hard to turn their business into what it is now. The Bronxville location is an active part of the community, and being able to “successfully train young people to be cheesemongers” is one of McNeill and Walter’s favorite things.

“We love working with young people because they’re really smart, they’re really fast, especially with technology, and it’s basically like fun [for them] because it’s not academic, and I know that kids are working so hard in school these days,” Walter explained. She hopes that the Scarsdale location will become ingrained in the community the same way the Bronxville one did.

Cheese is an international, multi-billion dollar industry that Scarsdalians are now lucky to claim in their village. Yet, why do we need a cheese shop? This store is more expensive than Stop & Shop or Trader Joe’s. At Dobbs & Bishop, they are selling an experience; “The idea is we’ve curated products that you can’t always buy in any other one store,” is how Walter described their shop. “It’s hard to find everything that we have in another place.” Along the walls are jars of jams, nuts, oils, and honey. A charcuterie board could be conjured up just here without the several-stop errand trip usually required. At the counter, customers can sample the recommended cheeses and pick the exact amount they want to take home. The quaint and homey feel of the store, its radios playing “Wagon Wheel,” and friendly, personable customer care make the extra bucks beyond worth it.

Of course, beyond the fresh and rustic vibes of the setting, Dobbs & Bishop is home to excellent cheese. A store with dairy as a focus point needs to make cheese that people will buy, enjoy, and return for more. The adjective used was “top-tasting.” So, having tasted them myself, here’s a quick rundown of a selection of cheeses:

Midnight Moon
The Midnight Moon cheese was good but not incredible. It’s a hard, sharp-tasting cheese, while I prefer a soft, elusive cheese. Yet, I can appreciate how the flavors dissipating across the taste buds are not too salty, and the cheese’s texture is not exceptionally rigid. It’s a nice medium that can broach into the taste palettes of a broad group of cheese enthusiasts.

Ewephoria
The Ewephoria was probably my least favorite cheese. Its strong, tangy, almost acidic flavor is blunt and could be toned down with some pasta or a chip. However, its solid texture makes the cheese a good snack.

Compostelle
Compostelle is a semi-hard cheese that contains a subtle amount of flavor. The ability of the cheese to taste slightly smoky but not sharp means it can be eaten with a cracker or on its own. The richness and consistency make it immediately versatile, perfect for being a crowd-pleaser on a charcuterie board. Compostelle is one of the most balanced cheeses I have ever tasted.

I am grateful that these flavors have found a home in Scarsdale. From France to Vermont, McNeill and Walter have learned more about cheese and its importance, creation, and many forms. When prompted about the primary difference between American and foreign cheese, Walter explained how in other countries, they’ve been “making certain cheeses for hundreds of years because their culture is ‘my dad made comté [a type of cheese], so I’m gonna make comté.’” Meanwhile, in American culture, kids often don’t follow the same paths as their parents. While fresh ideas and innovation are crucial to bettering any commodity, “the original product can be lost.”

Owning a shop is “hard” and “its work,” but together, McNeill and Walter have recognized that it’s essential to “make sure you’re accurate, friendly, you’re clean, and you have a connection with the customer.” Being in a niche business is difficult, yet with a “purpose behind why [they] carry something,” the hope is for customers to understand and love cheese as “a special occasion, something to share with friends, [or] a quick meal” in the same way that McNeill and Walter do. I look forward to seeing how Dobbs & Bishop will further the adoration for cheese in the Scarsdale community. Welcome to the neighborhood!

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Elliot Eisenberg, Editor in Chief - Print

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