It’s not just about meat and cheese anymore.
Curated, colorful “grazing boards” are growing in popularity as a cottage industry with caterers and other food entrepreneurs joining specialty shops on the charcuterie train, getting in on the Instagram-worthy action.
While charcuterie refers to a selection of meats, grazing boards can be anything: vegetables, jams, cheese, meat, other snackables and nonedible decorations.
Imagine prosciutto folded up like rose petals and positioned among cascading slices of aged gouda and a tiny cup of glistening, marinated olives. A wedge of marbled, soft cheese rests next to accordioned slices of salami and a small pile of gluten-free crackers or whole wheat wafers. A group of grapes or artfully carved strawberries pop here and there for depth and color.
Cheese monger Zach Berg of Monger’s Provisions in Midtown says what makes a good board is variety: different textures and flavors.
“I think it’s really fun to give people kind of a snapshot of the different things you can play with,” he said. “You have the crumbly hard cheeses of Parmesan and cheddar, but you also do a brie or a bouncy, pudgy mountain cheese.
“I really like to take people on a journey and I think obviously with the cheese we do that, but even the other things you can put on the board, the accoutrements, you can have a lot of fun,” said Berg, who has done themed charcuterie and cheese boards for events, from book club meetings to weddings. “You can have something like the burst of a fresh grape, and that compared with a dried apricot which has a more concentrated flavor.”
To add some of this edible artwork to your Easter table, contact one of these local board makers today. Many require a few days notice. A grazing board or colorful charcuterie plate is also a good idea for small bridal or baby shower, dinner party or a Mother’s Day visit.
Monger’s Provisions: Berg and his staff can create boards featuring their rotating selection of up to 150 cheeses (they usually have at least 80 in stock at one time) and around 20 meats, including rare finds like smoked coppa and wagyu pastrami. They sell boards starting at $55, and they also have a virtual class that includes ingredients and a YouTube instructional video so you can create your own board at home. 4240 Cass, Detroit. mongersprovisions.com.
Devries & Co. 1887: This Eastern Market shop has been in the cheese game for more than 100 years. They’re stocked with fun stuff for you to craft your own grazing board, or employ the talents of their catering department to create a custom cheese tray for your event (they even have a selection of lactose-free cheeses). 2468 Market, Detroit. (313) 568-7777. devries1887.com.
Thyme & Honey: Cat Shapiro is a culinary industry veteran and has been making super-cute charcuterie boards and grazing tables for about six years. Her own catering company Thyme & Honey, celebrating its fourth birthday this month, offers edge-to-edge boards stocked with colorful ingredients like meat, cheese, chocolate, nuts and dried and fresh fruit, starting at $40. She can make them gluten-free or adhere to other dietary needs, and delivers to most of Metro Detroit. Visit thymeandhoneyfood.com to order.
Graze Charcuterie Boxes: This local charcuterie company has spring-themed spreads and can even fill number-shaped boxes, making it a great alternative to birthday flowers. View the goods and order via Instagram @graze_charcuterie_boxes or at facebook.com/GrazeCharcuterieToGo.
Janna Kay Charcuterie: She does cured meats and cheese, yes, but Kay’s offerings also cater vegetarian and vegan customers. A selection of boards and boxes are sold directly on her website, and some boxed assortments are found in local stores. (313) 405-7445. jannakay.com.
Mitten Made: Debuting just a few months ago in November — on Small Business Saturday, no less —owner Jessica Pappas tries to stand out by using at least one Michigan-made product in each grazing board, like jams from Detroit’s Gus & Grey or chocolate-covered cherries from Traverse City. She loves themes, too and has made colorful boards for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. She takes local orders through her Instagram page, @mittenmadecharcuterie.
Charcuterie Gifts: Another new entrepreneur, Melody Khemmoro started Charcuterie Gifts in August because she said she loves art and started doing boards for fun and it picked up as a part-time business. Her boards range from $40-$200 and she has pickup locations in Farmington Hills, Commerce Township and Southfield, and can also deliver throughout Metro Detroit. Order via Instgram @Charcuterie_Gifts.
Cheese to Please: Designed to stay cute while in transit, these giftable “gourmet grazing boards” are sold as square or round, large and small. There’s also a grazing cup option with individual portions for small gatherings. Delivery available in the Grosse Pointe area. cheesetoplease.com.
The Grazing Hour: Choose from a variety of sizes, including individually portioned grazing boards and kid-friendly themes served on eco-friendly, disposable trays. This company offers pick up in Royal Oak or local delivery. facebook.com/thegrazinghour for more details.
Our special thanks to:detroitnews.com