Whether you’re searching for the perfect wine and accoutrements for a date night in, or you’re a cocktail- and cheese-lover looking to nibble your evening away bar-side, InTheBurg is bringing you all things CHARCUTERIE. Don’t let the fancy boards and spreads intimidate you; building a better board is simple with local ingredients and these tasty tips.
Start with the Basics
Charcuterie is a French term that traditionally refers to cold, prepared meats, such as salami, prosciutto, and pâté. But in a broader sense, charcuterie has come to be known for fanciful arrangements of multiple, bite-size treats.
So, let’s start with the basics when building a shopping list– a variety of cheeses and meats, pickled accompaniments, fresh produce, dry goods (such as nuts, chocolates, and crackers,) bread or crackers, and a variety of spreads and jams to pair with each bite (such as local honey, mustards, and pepper jelly.) We’ll cover a variety of local markets to shop, specialty treats for extra “flair,” and additional tips for creating your charcuterie boards at home.
One Stop Shops
- Blue Moon Specialty Foods (130 South Church St): You may know Blue Moon for their variety of custom seasonings and sauces, or perhaps their frozen meal selections and daily restaurant counter menu, but have you explored their retail shelves? In addition to house-made Cheese Crispies, Rosemary Candied Pecans, pickles okra and onions, a variety of Pimento Cheeses, and Giddy-Up Party Mix, Blue Moon also carries additional retail brands of jams and preserves (such as Sallie’s Greatest and Adam’s Apple,) a variety of wines, and local ceramics and woodworking.
- The Deli Korner (1445 Fernwood Glendale Rd): Charcuterie is nothing without its cured meats and fine cheeses! This market and restaurant combo has been serving up traditional German, Swiss, and American plates since 1981, and their deli counter is a must-visit for fresh meats and cheeses, such as Sopressata and Genoa salami, Havarti, and Jarlesburg cheese. Check the specialty market shelves for traditional crackers and sauces to pair with your deli goods.
- European Market: This regional market offers goods from 25+ different countries, and has three different locations to shop in Spartanburg alone: 5545 Hwy-9, Inman; 38 1st St, Inman; and 8047 Warren H. Abernathy Hwy, Spartanburg. (Coming soon: 8275 Asheville Hwy, Boiling Springs.) Get creative while assembling your boards, with unique crackers, chocolates, candies, cheeses, and pickled items.
- Hub City Farmers Market (498 Howard St): There’s no better place to find local produce than your local farmers market, and the HCFM is one of the longest running market seasons in South Carolina! Shop local honey, greens, baked goods, olive oils, and of course, seasonal produce. In addition to their regular season (Saturdays 8am-12pm, April through December,) Hub City hosts a Winter Market once a month, January through March. Upcoming markets are February 20th and March 20th, 11am-2pm, and are outdoors at the Harvest Park to accommodate social distancing.
- Stone Soup Market & Cafe (1522 East Rutherford St, Landrum): In addition to their fresh, Blue Ridge menu and frozen casserole options, Stone Soup’s market shelves are stocked full of delicious preserves, cured meats, local honey, cheeses, olives, and crackers and crisps.
A Little Local Something Extra
Want to elevate your charcuterie board an extra step? Here’s a few special destinations to stock your playful palate options:
- Dottie’s Toffee (505 East Main St): This local confectionary will add a sweet compliment to any board; in additional to seasonal offerings, Dottie’s offers both milk and dark chocolate toffee year-round.
- Gerald’s Candy & Nut Shoppe (212 East Daniel Morgan Ave): Buy in bulk; enjoy more charcuterie boards! Gerald’s offers a variety of nuts, jams, butters, and brittles year-round, in addition to their popular cheese straws. Opt for seasonal ingredients such as specialty candy and nut trail mixes or Apple Butter, for a themed spread.
- Little River Coffee Bar (188 West Main St): In addition to their locally-roasted coffee, Little River Roasting now offers fresh-baked loaves of bread– Rosemary, Multigrain, and Camp-style– with complimentary local delivery or pick-up with online pre-orders.
- Olive & Then Some (124 Magnolia St, Spartanburg; 221 East Rutherford St, Landrum): You won’t know the difference in specialty olive oil until you experience it for yourself, and with dozens of gourmet oils, balsamic vinegars, and suggested pairings, Olive & Then Some has you covered. Shop their two locations for complimentary samples and additional ceramics, spices, and spreads, or browse online.
- Those Pickle Ladies: These family-recipe pickles are famous far beyond the Spartanburg County line, and can be found on a variety of grocery shelves, including Blue Moon Specialty Foods (see above.) Their “fire & ice” small-batch pickles come in a variety of heat levels, such as “Texan Granny” and “Pickles of the Dead.”
- Don’t forget the wine! Shop local from the finest global wine selections, at Bond Street Wines (145 West Main St,) Carriage House Wines (196 West Main St,) Keg & Cellar: Vino & Hops (5844 Reidville Rd, Moore,) and The Wine Gallery (220 South Main St, Woodruff.)Keg & Cellar is both a taproom and market, offering a variety of specialty crackers, olives, and additional dried goods to pair with your wines. Click here to read more on Keg & Cellar, from their grand-opening.
Now, Add a Little Spice
Okay, so now that your pantries and fridges are full of delicious items to nibble, let’s get to building! Charcuterie boards can seem daunting, but in the end, it all comes down to quality ingredients and a little creativity.
- First things first, you’ll need a board or platter, large enough to accommodate cheese knives and bowls for spreads. Traditional materials are cured wood slabs, slate, or marble, but really anything you have on hand would work. You can even go the extra local step, with a ceramic platter from a local artisan.
- When choosing multiple varieties of ingredients, consider both flavor and texture. For example, cheeses can include firm/hard varieties, blue cheeses, semisoft, and flavor-infused (such as red wine or harissa.) Nuts can provide an additional layer of flavor and texture to the board, such as smoked almonds, freshly shelled pistachios, or candied pecans.
- Fresh produce and sweet items combat creamy cheeses, fatty charcuterie meats, and other “heavy” palate items. Add in cherry tomatoes, blackberries, bits of chocolate, grapes, dried apricots, etc.
- Have plenty of bread or crackers on hand. Lightly toasting fresh bread or baguette slices adds an extra “oomph” to your flavor, and helps sop up all the delicious mustards, oils, preserves, and soft cheeses.
- Don’t forget the utensils! Make sure to have any spoons for jams, cheese knives (especially for brie and other soft cheeses,) or toothpicks. Toothpicks are also great for arranging rolled meats.
- Want to dive more into curated boards and recommended pairings? Check out On Boards by Lisa Dawn Bolton. You can order a copy locally from Hub City Bookshop (186 West Main St.)
“Hmmm,… This seems like more work than I expected.”
After reading this article, you might be a little hungry. (We know we are!) Satisfy those charcuterie cravings sooner rather than later, with these local dine-in boards:
Dray: Bar + Grill (1800 Drayton Rd): Served with aged meats, a variety of cheeses and pickled sides, toasted bread, and Lusty Monk mustard, Dray’s charcuterie spread packs a punch, with two size options. (Smaller board pictured.) Pair your board with a side of Pimento Cheese Bites and honey sriracha for more cheesy goodness. Best yet: Dray’s specialty cocktails (“Draytails”) donate $1 to the Spartanburg Humane Society per drink, AND wine bottles are half-priced every Wednesday.
Bond Street Wines (145 West Main St): Enjoy a glass of fine wine and spread of European goodies in the heart of Downtown Spartanburg, at Bond Street Wines. Bond Street offers intimate indoor table seating, as well as outdoor tables on both Wall Street and Morgan Square. (Keep an eye out for the return of their specialty tasting flights and pairings events.) Then, take home a bottle (or two!) to try your hand at our charcuterie tips.