Have your art and eat it, too! In recent years, a humble snack of meat and cheese has transformed into an Instagram-worthy craze. Boards full of delicate salame bouquets, edible flower arrangements and rich cheeses topped with fruit and honey are trending now more than ever. The rise in popularity of charcuterie boards, for many, was born out of a longing for connectivity after a pandemic era of isolation. Now, they continue to be celebratory ways to share something special at social events. Craft the perfect board at home with these tips from local experts.
When it comes to locally produced, artisan-cured meats, St. Louis is home to the best. Charcu in the Lou uses Volpi on the Hill for its salame roses and prosciutto petals. Charcu in the Lou was started by two friends, Cori Bickford and Caitlin Browne, who wanted an outlet for their creative side. Now, the duo stays busy by hosting office workshops on making boards in addition to delivering special orders. Allison Schilling at St. Louis Cheese Boards loves using the salame chubs from Volpi, as well, in flavors like peppered and Genoa.
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For Carley Sanders at The Lou Charcuterie, Volpi’s artisan-cured meats add color and local flavor to her brand’s boards. Kim Potsos, owner of Social Graze, meanwhile enjoys using Salume Beddu products. “I like a kind of rustic look,” Potsos says. She especially loves the company’s Soppressata Siciliano, which is made with toasted fennel.
“I’m a salty cheese kind of gal,” Schilling says. Schilling started making boards while still employed as an essential healthcare worker. After a year of juggling her full-time job, making boards on the side and spending time with her family, she made the leap in 2021 to make cheese her full-time focus. She can now cater large events with offerings from single-serve options to large grazing tables.
Potsos prefers Marcoot Creamery products for Social Graze’s boards and is especially fond of the cave-aged Gouda cheese. Social Graze also offers towering, layered Brie cakes, which are topped with honeycomb, dried citrus, figs and edible flowers that make for a unique and stunning party pleaser. Sanders, of The Lou Charcuterie, says she tries to use local ingredients where she can but notes that her favorite cheese right now is a blueberry vanilla goat cheese from Trader Joe’s.
For jam, Charcu in the Lou utilizes the award-winning, small-batch preserves of Larder and Cupboard. “The Strawberry Lemon Verbena – year-round – is my absolute favorite,” Browne says. The brand’s dessert boards center on a cake from Made. by Lia, surrounded by funfetti-themed desserts and truffles from Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company.
At The Lou Charcuterie, Sanders tries to switch it up by featuring small businesses from around the country, like the Austin Jam Co.
Locally grown edible flowers give the boards at Social Graze a pop of color.
Potsos also loves using honeycomb for its texture. And on boards from St. Louis Cheese Boards, you can find Millis Meadows Honey, which is based in Des Peres, Missouri.
“Charcuterie is my love language,” Schilling says.