Everyone knows a good party is never complete without a charcuterie board. Meat and cheese platters have always been a staple at gatherings, but these days — due in large part to Instagram inspiration — the spreads have gotten bigger and better. These boards, now called grazing boards, can include everything from meat and cheese to dips, spreads, hors d’oeuvres, desserts and even wine pairings. Within the past couple of years, several Birmingham companies have popped up that offer premade or custom grazing boards. Here are six local businesses that can make the grazing board of your dreams.
Where to Get Your Local Grazing Board
Courtney Wright has been offering custom grazing boards through Savor Style since 2018. Her beautiful, fun and artfully arranged boards have been featured in several magazines and blogs. She was inspired to begin making charcuterie boards because cheese boards have been one of her favorite snacks since childhood. “Our family quality time was always spent around the table, and I think grazing boards are a natural invitation to gather and connect,” says Courtney. “I love their versatility and ability to elevate any occasion, whether it’s a quiet night at home or a (safe and socially distanced) gathering with friends.”
When crafting her boards, Courtney always considers two key elements: color and texture. She spreads out similarly hued items throughout the board and adds contrasting pops of color with items like green olives, red berries or dried oranges. She says her signature boards always include a soft-ripened cheese, such as brie, with honey as a pairing, and something with black pepper. This could be a cheese, or more likely, black pepper kettle chips, which Courtney says are her weakness. She also loves to include a little sugar on the board, especially in the form of macarons.
Petal & Platter
Petal & Platter isn’t just a cute name. It gives a hint at what you’ll get on your grazing board. Jessica Snead loves to include edible flowers on her boards, which add a pop of color and texture and elevate even the simplest of spreads. She also takes things one step further by crafting charcuterie meats into roses.
Jessica says unexpected elements make the board a conversation piece, and she’s found that most people want creativity over traditional ingredients. She uses seasonal produce to guide the design and color palette of each board. She says the key to a good board is to include something from each category: creamy, sweet, briny, savory, crunchy, and spicy. “Grazing boards are the ultimate centerpiece,” Jessica says. “Beautiful to look at and even more fun to devour.”
Table & Thyme
Table & Thyme was the first catering company in town to take the idea of a grazing board and really blow it out. After seeing a trend of grazing tables in Australia and loving the idea, it quickly became their signature offering, with the company creating massive grazing boards for weddings, parties and more. Their grazing boards typically include a host of different charcuterie items, appetizers, and wine pairings, if desired.
“Grazing tables are a great way to feed small or large groups and many different palates — from vegans, carnivores, vegetarians, gluten intolerant, children and more,” says Aurrie Hicks of Table & Thyme.
The caterer looks at each grazing table as a blank slate that allows them to exercise their creativity in a beautiful way. No two grazing tables are ever the same. Aurrie says don’t be afraid to “paint outside the lines,” meaning it’s okay to be different.
Table & Thyme exclusively uses a Birmingham-based company, American Butcher Meats, to supply their cured meats. One of their favorite unique elements to include on the table is homemade chocolate chip cookies. The company also hosts graze board classes for groups and individuals and offers “Graze on the Go” — smaller, to-go charcuterie boxes.
Katie Whalen started making grazing boards when she’d get together with her family at the lake. She says it was always a hit with everyone — from kids to adults. She then started gifting boards to friends, and things took off from there when she launched Brie Mine in June of this year. “Giving the gift of food can range from comforting to celebratory, and I loved the idea of being a part of the fellowship that people would share when having a meal or spending time together,” Katie says.
She always loves to include a small jar of honey on her boards to go with the cheeses. Another favorite you’ll often find with Brie Mine is blueberry vanilla goat cheese. Katie says it’s a crowd-pleaser even if you don’t like goat cheese.
There are no rules for eating or making a charcuterie board. Katie says don’t be afraid to be adventurous with new things: “The fun part about eating them is getting to try different combinations and finding your perfect bite.”
Feast & Fête
Feast & Fête was a happy accident. Best friends Asha Gangolli and Mallory Yates love entertaining and were always making grazing boards for themselves and their friends. Eventually, they started getting requests for boards, and family and friends encouraged them to start a business.
Asha says the best thing about grazing boards is that each one is different, and there are no wrong answers. She says they always start with bigger items and build the board around those. She tries to include fresh herbs for greenery, with rosemary being her favorite. Asha and Mallory are also fans of using edible flowers to brighten up their boards. “Don’t be afraid to step out of the realm of normal charcuterie items,” Asha says. “Sometimes unexpected things add a bit of whimsy to your curated board!”
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Brie‘Ham Grazing Co.
Lauren Wagner and Christina Connell have been creating grazing boards for parties for as long as they can remember. But during the quarantine of 2020, they were inspired to do something more. Christina says, “The slower times of quarantine 2020 — and eating more dinners of charcuterie and wine than we care to admit — led us to reach out to friends and neighbors to see if there was any interest in buying premade charcuterie boxes to bring to parties.”
It turns out, people were definitely interested, and Brie’Ham Grazing Co. was born. They create custom, to-go charcuterie boxes that are perfect for parties, get-togethers or even just a snacking dinner. They offer mini, regular and large boxes, as well as a Sugar Rush Box filled with candy. The mini is great for lunch, a date night or to gift to a friend. The Regular Box is the go-to for any tailgate or party where there are other appetizers available. You’ll find local and seasonal elements in the boxes, as well as a wedge or wheel of brie as a nod to their name. They deliver in Trussville and offer Saturday morning pickup at The Summit for others.
Happy grazing, Birmingham!
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