Artisan meat and cheese popularity continues to soar as Americans’ hankering for charcuterie boards grows.
Of the restaurants that serve board-based or charcuterie appetizers, nearly one quarter feature prosciutto, according to Chicago-based Datassential’s 2021 MenuTrends report. In the past year, cheddar cheese nearly doubled as a component, while Gouda and Parmesan saw the most growth over the past four years.
Concept Close-Up: Graze Street AMI, Anna Maria Island, Fla.
Chefs Jason and Heather Hernandez are co-owners of Graze Street AMI, a grab-and-go concept specializing in charcuterie, along with sandwiches, salads and baked goods. The couple also runs Blade and Tine, a culinary consultancy. “We did chef events and partnered with companies in our area, and our brick-and-mortar operation came out of that,” Jason Hernandez says. “My wife and I are leveraging our 25 years of experience as chefs.” Hernandez details the trend in charcuterie and Graze Street AMI’s offerings.
Q: Are there rules of thumb when creating a charcuterie board?
A: There is no wrong way to go about it. Our boards include three to four different meats and cheeses. We switch them up, but availability comes into play. We source our items locally and include house-made pickles and our own homemade peach jam. It’s best to incorporate different flavors and cheeses with different rinds.
On weekends, we began offering brunch boards, which is a sweet and savory take on charcuterie boards. This incorporates pancakes, pastries, fruit and bacon made in-house.
Q: What equipment is key to supporting charcuterie?
A: Refrigeration is huge, as are containers for both storage and plating. We use porcelain cups and jars as well as ramekins. We also incorporate honey sticks and jars, knives, forks, and sustainable bamboo plates and wooden cutlery.
Q: Talk about the production process with charcuterie boards.
A: We slice all products a day ahead or the day of serving. It takes us about 10 minutes to prepare a board with one to two staff. Our pickles take time to age, so they are prepared ahead of time.
Q: What type of to-go packaging do you use?
A: We have individual sizes up to a 10-inch-by-14-inch cardboard box with a window that serves six to nine people. For special occasions, we use bamboo-style containers with a snap lid. We also can create 8-foot grazing tables for private events