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THE FACE OF EUREKA CHARCUTERIE

Eureka Springs, Arkansas charcuterie shop owner and the region’s premiere salumist, Scott Dobbins, celebrates his third year since opening Eureka Charcuterie, and the one-year anniversary of launching his own artisanal salami

line. “Big Dill, “F-ing Hot,” and “Carda-bomb” are just a few of the cleverly named hand-made salamis that Dobbins formulates, ferments, cures and packages onsite in his beautiful Eureka Springs, Arkansas storefront under the Eureka

Charcuterie brand. Of course, per the name, artful and custom charcuterie, an increasingly popular favorite for holidays and parties, has been the heart of the business since the beginning. Just to clarify what the widely used word truly means, Dobbins says, “Charcuterie is often mis-defined. It’s actually the French word for ‘the art of cured meat.” Other fun facts

the layperson may not know? Salami is ground meat mixed with fat, cultures and spices” and differentially, “salumi” is a solid piece of cured meat. Last year, Dobbins decided to put his salumist skills to the test and launch a Eureka Charcuterie line of small-batch salamis. Like myself, “salumist is another term some may not have ever heard, but probably wouldn’t be too far off with a guess. It’s defined as “A person who makes high-end charcuterie and salami,” and true salumists are rare in this region. After 25 years in the business of specialty foods, Dobbins is as passionate about his work, and his craft, as they come. Growing up in Kansas City, he remembers going to the City Market with his mom on a regular basis. He recalls in particular, developing a fondness for the Italian grocers and sampling the traditionally cured Italian meats. Even as a kid, he developed interest in the process and although he didn’t necessarily predict “salumist” as his future profession, he felt drawn to what he saw, and tasted, at that market, specifically the minimally processed, small batch cured meats. After college, Dobbins took a job with an international food distributor, which relocated him to Baltimore. The company was one of the largest exporters of U.S. beef, and carried him across the Middle East and North Africa. That position soon led him to a business partnership in an export management company selling American foods to hypermarket chains in the Middle East. He relocated the business to Miami, where the company landed a contract with the Dean & Deluca franchisee for Kuwait, Qatar and Dubai, and took his career in the direction of his passion – higher-end, small-batch gourmet products. When he decided to step away from the international food distribution scene, Dobbins made a drastic life change and left Miami. Seeking a change of scene and to plant roots somewhere different but equally as beautiful, he found himself in Eureka Springs, a beautiful tourist town nestled in the Ozark Mountains, in 2010. Having worked in the specialty food industry for two and a half decades, perhaps by fate, Dobbins made Eureka home after a series of jobs that had taken him across the continent. There, he co-founded a high-end specialty deli line that placed product in nearly 400 stores on the east coast, such as Costco, Stop ‘n Shop and Wegman’s. He worked and traveled for several years, until he took the next leap in his career. With Dobbins’ passion being traditionally cured delicatessen – the “cleanest, most minimally processed, specialty, artisanal, small batch meats,” he exited the specialty deli line he had co-founded and made the biggest decision of his career - to open his own shop. Eureka Charcuterie opened in July 2020, just as the Covid pandemic shut down the country. At first, the business model focused on selling charcuterie, cheese and other accoutrements as well as creating custom specialty charcuterie boards. His goal was to “To create an intimate consumer experience focused on traditionally cured specialty charcuterie,” Dobbins says. Luckily, the pandemic didn’t prevent the charming charcuterie shop, as it was known, from persevering through those times. Instead, it thrived,

attracting locals and the brave souls who ventured out during a time when many businesses failed, especially those who had just opened at one of the most unfortunate times in recent history. By January 2022, Dobbins took the opportunity to relocate to the famous flat iron building on the corner of Spring and Center Street, expanding his retail space to sell more cured meats, charcuterie, specialty cheeses, artisan chocolates, wine, glassware and accoutrements like mustards, jams, olives, crackers, and more, mostly under the Eureka Charcuterie label.

At that point, after having researched for years and cured as a hobby, as well as having studied under multiple mentors, including renowned chef Johnny Paa, from The Sausage Maker in Buffalo, New York, Dobbins felt ready to start professionally curing and selling his own line of small-batch artisan salami. In less than a year, his Eureka Charcuterie brand offers a good handful of flavors and Dobbins is concocting more on a regular basis. He sells by day and creates by night, formulating his

own recipes and, sort of like a mad scientist, spends the majority of his time at his shop, stuffing and curing his creations, sometimes until the early morning. “The process is science,” he says. “If just one thing goes wrong or the timing isn’t right, I’ve jeopardized a lot of product.”

His pride in the brand and his product is palpable, and catching. Check out his Instagram and Facebook, in which he charmingly introduces new product and even features family and friends in the entertaining videos.

In late August 2023, Dobbins re-located Eureka Charcuterie to a fabulous new location at 50 N. Main, just across from the Historic Grand Central Hotel. He’ll continue to offer gourmet, custom charcuterie and a small retail space. Now with more kitchen space, he’s excited to be making even more - a lot more -traditionally cured, small-batch and delicious artisan salami

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