Cheese shop in Barrington offers tour of tastes

Rind cheese shop is located on Bosworth Street

By Josh Bickford
Posted 1/12/23

On the center shelf is the Robiola Bosina. And about a foot to the right is the Der Scharfe Maxx. And just below that, on the bottom shelf, is the Beemster XO. 

Inside the cooler at Rind on …

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Cheese shop in Barrington offers tour of tastes

Rind cheese shop is located on Bosworth Street


On the center shelf is the Robiola Bosina. And about a foot to the right is the Der Scharfe Maxx. And just below that, on the bottom shelf, is the Beemster XO. 

Inside the cooler at Rind on Bosworth Street is a tour of some of the world’s most delicious cheeses. Rind is one of Barrington’s newest shops — it specializes in artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and other gourmet foods. 

Owned and operated by Barrington residents Ashley LaPlante and Timothy Fichera, Rind offers charcuterie platters, cheese boards, jams, honey, olives, chocolates, nuts, pickles, olive oil, as well as cheese tools and handmade cutting boards.

On the table in the center of the store are bags of gourmet potato chips. The flavors: Iberian ham, black truffle, and fois gras. 

It is difficult to find a similar array of tastes and flavors as the ones offered inside Rind. And that is exactly what LaPlante and Fichera intended.

“That’s what’s great about cheese,” said Fichera. “There are four ingredients but there are countless variations.”

LaPlante and Fichera offered a brief tour of the tastes on Friday afternoon. LaPlante reached into the bottom shelf of the cooler and pulled out a block of cheese made in Vermont. It is called Verano and has been selected for a number of awards in recent competitions. 

Fichera carves off a slice from the block. 

“There’s butteriness. It’s rich. It’s 100 percent sheep’s milk, which is richer than cow’s milk. You see the rind?” Fichera asks as he cuts a second slice. “This one is pretty fantastic.”

Fichera and LaPlante worked together in restaurants for more than 20 years. LaPlante was a pastry chef and a beverage director. Fichera was an executive chef. Over the years they discovered their shared love for cheese. 

When the pandemic hit, Fichera and LaPlante had an opportunity to consider the future — did they want to continue working in restaurants or was something else on the horizon?

“The idea was actually from a Valentine’s Day and we wanted to do a cheese board for ourselves,” Fichera said. “It was Covid times and we had to drive 45 minutes. We basically drove back to Wellesley (Mass.), which is where we used to work, because they have a fantastic cheese shop. Wasik’s. It’s so good.”

LaPlante and Fichera realized Barrington was ripe for its own cheese shop. The couple spent months fine-tuning their business plan, and even longer finding the location for their shop. About two weeks before Thanksgiving, Rind opened to customers.

“The need is here. That’s what we’ve heard ever since we opened the door,” Fichera said. 

The shop is located on Bosworth Street, two doors down from Grapes and Grains, a local wine and beer shop. The pairing of the two businesses was not lost on Rind’s owners. LaPlante said they have spoken with Grapes and Grains owner Matt Amaral and are planning some special wine and cheese tasting events. 

Something new

After sampling the Verano, LaPlante went back into the cooler and lifted a cobble-stone-sized block of cheese. It was called Moliterno al Tartufo, and it was filled with truffles. LaPlante said she is a fan of the softer cheeses, but the Moliterno is something truly special. Fichera agreed. 

“Because cheese ripens from the outside in, towards the rind is where the most flavor is,” LaPlante said. 

The shop owners said some people have come to Rind looking for something specific. Other times customers are open to suggestions.  

“Some people come in and ask, ‘Do you have this?’ Fichera said, adding that there are more than 5,000 cheeses. “We may not have it, but we may have something similar.”

For customers who are willing to explore something new, the rewards can be delicious. 

“We’ve introduced people to a lot of great cheeses,” LaPlante said. 

The third stop on the cheese tour is called Delice de Bougogne. LaPlante calls it “dessert cheese.” It is soft and creamy… very creamy. LaPlante prefers soft cheeses, she said.

Fichera said it is almost impossible for him to pick a favorite cheese — “It’s like picking a favorite child,” he said. 

LaPlante seemed more comfortable with the challenge. 

“Moser Screamer,” she said, referring to a creamy cow’s milk cheese made in Dotzigen, Switzerland. 

LaPlante recently brought some Moser Screamer home after work, intending to share it with Tim and her son, but ended up eating it all herself. 

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