Femme Formage. Photograph by Natasha Gentile

Say Cheese!

In Eat, October 2020 by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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It’s not a true party until you break out the cheese board! Beautifully laid out charcuterie boards have become all the rage of late, with rivers of cold cuts, wheels of soft cheeses, piles of olives and sprinkles of edible flowers appreciated as much for their snack-worthiness as for their pleasing aesthetics. Let’s face it, we don’t all have the eye for edible art; luckily, there’s been a surge of custom charcuterie board creation services popping up around the Triangle, ready to craft a stunning meat and cheese board just for you. Get ready to steal the show at your next gathering.

Femme Fromage NC

In March, friends Natasha Gentile and Gabrielle Bratcher took a passion for creating beautiful charcuterie boards and made it into a business they called Femme Fromage. The pair was receiving requests online to teach how-to charcuterie board classes, especially once coronavirus hit. The friends thought their boards would provide people with a sense of normalcy. “We love sharing our creativity and love for creating these masterpieces,” they state on their business’s Facebook page. The beautiful boards are loaded with both soft and hard cheeses, cold cuts, fruits, nuts, jams, crackers and other accoutrements and can be customized to be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, keto and nut-free. With COVID, Gentile and Bratcher pivoted the Femme Fromage business model to include delivery throughout the Triangle as well with set porch pickup times throughout the week. This fall, they’ll also offer how-to classes, parties, wine and cheese tastings, and team building classes for companies. femmefromagenc.com

Grazin’ Gals

When Raleigh Night Market co-founder Lauryn Colatuno and her friend Erin Riddick of Peak City Hair Studios realized their businesses would not be reopening soon due to the pandemic, they knew they needed to come up with a way to pivot. Colatuno says she’s always been a foodie and both she and Riddick like entertaining at home, so custom-made charcuterie boards were a natural fit. “We needed a creative outlet and this gave us that,” Colatuno says. Besides your typical meat and cheese charcuterie boards, Grazin’ Gals offers candy charcuterie boards and “beer boards,” created with pretzels, pickles, sharper cheeses and mustard, as well as vegan boards with vegan meats and cheeses and pickled vegetables. The pair sources many ingredients from local vendors—meats and bacon jam from Under the Oak in Smithfield, cheeses from Chapel Hill Creamery and Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, plus produce from the State Farmers Market. Grazin’ Gals’ unique charcuterie boards are available for delivery or pickup throughout the Triangle, including at Wine Feed, where you can pair your board with a bottle of wine. grazingals.com

Photograph by Abigail Jackson Photography

Raleigh Cheesy

Courtney Bowman credits herself with creating the first custom charcuterie board service in the area. Last summer, Bowman made charcuterie boards for her friends and family and fell in love with the process, so she set up a Raleigh Cheesy Instagram page; orders started pouring in just two days later. “Every board is created as a work of art,” says Bowman. “We believe that community can be formed around delicious food and that cheese boards are one of the best conversation starters.” Since last October, Bowman has made more than 1,000 cheese boards and more than 1,000 people have attended her Cheese Board 101 classes. In early 2021, Bowman will open a Raleigh Cheesy storefront in Apex that will offer to-go charcuterie boxes. She’ll also continue to offer to-go boxes at pickup locations around Raleigh. raleighcheesy.com

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