Charcuterie and cheese boards have always been a draw at big parties. Ironically, businesses that create gorgeous, Instagram-worthy “grazing boards” boomed in the pandemic as people sought out creative takeout options and ways to entertain small groups (or just themselves) at home. Here are five DC-area board businesses for your next gathering or summer picnic.
Buttercream & Burrata
Taylor Elkow fell into the charcuterie board business during the pandemic after posting her elaborate homemade creations on Instagram. Formerly a director of a nonprofit, Elkow launched Buttercream & Burrata last summer. Her menu offers an array of sizing options with beautiful boards for all sorts of clients and occasions, from wedding platters to brunch. For your intimate summer picnic for two or four, Elkow recommends a small board ($65) that includes up to seven cheeses and meats, vegetables, fruits (both dried and fresh), nuts, olives, and two spreads. Elkow also sells smaller boards at the occasional pop-up; her homemade baked goods can also be purchased locally at Foxtrot Market. Orders can be placed through her website.
For lawyer Melissa Shear, charcuterie boards are a fun side-business that combines her love of cooking and style. Shear offers customizable boards of varying sizes, including a picnic box that serves up to four ($65), designed with gourmet cheeses, meats, crackers, seasonal produce, olives, seasoned nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, and dips. Those with a bigger budget looking to celebrate a birthday or milestone can order a “character board” where ingredients are layered on a cutout number. Shear also teaches in-person or virtual classes on board design. Orders can be placed through her website.
Outside of her day job as a business consultant and government contractor, Howard University grad Danita Foulks likes to stay creative through charcuterie board design. She launched her business, Grazy Delicious, last summer, specializing in an assortment of boxes, boards, and grazing tables. For a gathering of up to six friends, Foulks suggests either a medium box ($80) or small board ($110) that features a medley of cheeses, meats, seasonal produce, nuts, honey, jams, spreads, and artisan crackers arranged in a box or reusable wooden tray. Orders can be placed through her website.
LC Designs NYC
Though this business originated in Manhattan, owner Lauren Clark has been operating out of Maryland since the pandemic hit, creating crudité platters, virtual workshops, and DIY grazing board kits. Her current menu includes six varieties of board sizes and a picnic platter ($75) for two-to-four complete with three cheeses, two meats, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, edible flowers, honeycomb, mandarin, and a fan-favorite—raspberry pistachio chocolate. Orders can be placed through her website.
After graduating from the Chef Academy in London, Julia Handzlik moved to DC where she worked in the Polish embassy before starting Honeyleaf Platters in February of 2019. Her menu offers various platter sizes with food served on sturdy wooden boards and boxes handmade by Handzlik with wood sourced locally from Alexandria. For picnickers, Handzlik recommends the mini grazing platter ($120) that boasts a not-so-mini assortment of seven cheeses, salami, olives, herbs, baguette, crackers, condiments, nuts and dried fruits, berries, date truffles, homemade hummus, olive tapenade, pickled peppers, chocolate-covered strawberries, pretzels, and homemade rocky road chocolate. Handzlik can also prepare baskets specifically for picnics, complete with wine glasses, cheese knives, and the platter. Boards can be ordered via the contact form on her website.