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Let’s explore the world of meat and cheese as Jess talks to a charcuterie curator from Tallahassee, Alexis of Boards by Alexis. First we’ll talk about charcuterie and what it is, then we will talk about the business of building beautiful charcuterie boards and grazing tables, as well as some tips to make your own at home.
Boards by Alexis
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Hi, it’s Jess, and you’re listening to another episode of The Flaky Foodie podcast, the only show where the discussion is delicious and there’s chatter to chew on. On today’s episode we’re talking with Alexis of boards by Alexis. She’s a Tallahassee local business that makes beautiful charcuterie boards and grazing tables for events and celebrations. She’s going to talk more about her business and creating a bountiful displays of meats and cheeses.
Now, before we get to our very special guest, let’s hear from you. I asked you guys on Twitter what has been the best flavor combination you’ve ever had on a charcuterie or a cheese board now I got some really interesting and unique responses. But first, let’s talk about my own. Now for me, my favorite combination was a carmelized Onion Jam with kalamata olives and rosemary bread. This was at bar 1903 here in Tallahassee. Now one of the first responses I got was from my friends at the history of American food Gretta you may remember her from Episode 21 The history of American spice. She said that she was a sucker for the sweet tart of membrillo or quince paste with blue cheese and a dark bread. And that sounds fan tastic. Now the good folks that cookbook library their favorite combination was aged provolone, garlic jelly and rosemary, honey. Sounds like a like a flavor explosion absolutely delicious. Now Casper, he says his favorite combination is an age farmhouse Gouda, with meddler composts, and I actually learned what medlar fruit is from that whole conversation from again the history of American food. I talked a bit about it and Casper himself, so thank you for enlightening me on what meddler fruit is now in a kettle or my kettle. They said a mild soft cheese like Brie dry cherries and a slightly spicy soppressata and I thought that was so interesting and surprising because they were the first person to mention meat. Everyone went with the cheeses Now Laura, she said her favorite combination was midnight Moon cheese and honey and midnight emojis I wasn’t really familiar with that as well. It is a goat Gouda cheese and next kind of ending all the responses. You have mighty Corleone they said their favorite charcuterie board combination is a goat cheese with nightshade berry jam in this specific type of cheese is called Forrest Phantom, which sounds so mysterious and inviting and intriguing. A bit as delicious. Thank you to all who responded on Twitter. I’ll be posting more conversation starters that tie into the show every week. So follow me on Twitter. I am at the flaky foodie. Th e f Laky. F ODI e sofar. Twitter is my favorite of all the platforms. I’m pretty active there. So if you want to talk to me at me on social media, Twitter is the place to do it. After a brief break. We’ll talk with Alexis of boards by Alexis. It may only be October, but I’m already prepping for the holiday season. And I want you to help if you have a fun, interesting or unique holiday food memory or tradition. I want you to share that with me. It can be from any holiday that you celebrate from the end of November all the way until the new year the end of December. So that means that your food memory or tradition can take place during Christmas. It gets a place during Thanksgiving or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus or any other holiday that’s outside of my American way of thinking as long as it takes place from the end of November to the end of December or into New Years to submit your holiday stories just go to my website www.theflakyfoodie.com That is the flaky foodie.com. Those who submit a story will be entered into win a raffle and the winner of the raffle will be announced at the end of the year. Thanks so much and let’s get back to the show.
Today we have with us a Lexus of boards by Alexis. She makes beautiful artisanal charcuterie boards and also grazing tables. And she’s going to tell us a little bit more more about her business. And we’re going to learn more about Chicoutimi boards. So welcome to the show. Alexis, so happy to have you.
Thank you. Happy to be here.
Yes. So before we kind of get into what started you with charcuterie boards, for those of of our viewers who may not be familiar, what makes up a charcuterie board.
So a charcuterie board literally means meat. So adding meat to a cheese board makes it charcuterie. Without the meat, it means just a cheese board.
Yeah, I was actually reading up about sharp Booderee because I wanted to be prepared for this. And I realized that if it doesn’t have meat on it, it’s not considered a sharp cooler for you just have a cheese blade or fruit and cheese blade, you have to have that cured meat there. And it was actually started by the French. And of course, they started charcuterie as a way to preserve meat to keep their meat from going bad. And then it evolved into these little shots where they would have like dried sausages and Salamis and all that good stuff. And then I was reading in about 2019. And I started to pick up again, people got familiar with the term charcuterie because before you go to a restaurant, what would you call it? I
know what it meant. Yeah.
She’s bored or meeting. She’s bored. But they were saying because it’s like Food Network cooking channel, people started knowing the name and then sugary boards kind of took off. So how did you find out about charcuterie and decide like, Hey, this is what I want to do.
So the first time I heard it, about it was about in 2019, my mom went somewhere. And she said, Oh my gosh, I had the best charcuterie board. And I was like, what, what is that? If I’m there, I heard it like so much more like from social media and everything. So I got really interested in them. And then during the pandemic, I would make boards for my family and friends. And I would post pictures on it posted on social media. And that’s kind of how I got like, a little bit more better from it. So I post them and then people like, tell me how good it looks or like, just different kind of compliments. And that’s pretty much how I got into it, just making them and then posting them.
Okay, awesome. What are some things that you’ve learned from like when you got started a couple years ago to now like what are some some key tips for making a great sharpshooter of war that you’ve kind of learned along the way?
I feel like if I look back at my work from a year and a half ago, when I started, it looks like to me it looks bad. So I think I learned like a whole 360 on how to really create the right balance on how what kind of cheeses go with what pairings what kind of jams. I think honestly, it’s just like a whole the whole time of my business starting has been the whole learning experience.
Have you seen any like changes in the business itself and making charcuterie boards? Is it super competitive? Have you seen is it is?
Yeah. So there are a few assistants here in Tallahassee, but also just like around Florida, around the America, I follow different, a few different ones that like I get inspired by but just talking to them. And they’re like in big major cities like Chicago, there’s like 20 popular charcuterie businesses. So it’s it’s pretty popular these days. I think that is just so popular in general, for weddings and birthdays, everyone just is trying to get into something to make extra money. So it’s a popular thing right now.
So what explain the kind of different kinds of charcuterie that you have for events, like I know you have small boards, but you also have these big tables, like what are the different sizes that you offer?
So when I first started, I only offered two sizes, and there were boxes. So a regular sized box, which which feeds one to two people. And I have a medium sized one that feeds five to eight people. So it’s what I started with. And then from there, I grew it, I read my menu. So I have a large box that feeds 10. And then I also have like boards, and those feed a range of 15 to 20. And then the grazing tables or like the really big ones and that feeds 20 plus so I’ve any number above 20
So what kind of events have you done? What what kind of events do people go hey, I need a grazing table or hey, I need a scooter boy for this.
Honestly, anything I’ve done birthday parties, graduations to weddings, Derby parties. I’ve done a Get Ready With Me board like people come up with anything to have a party and they’ll call me anything.
So any party have. Have you anything?
Yes, I start off watching anything.
So out of all the events you’ve done, what’s the event that made you go like wow, I can’t believe I did that like this This is an amazing opportunity.
Unknown Speaker 10:01
I will say that a lot of the grazing tables I do are just a great opportunity in itself. And I feel just really thankful for doing everything. But I would say, probably going to the Capitol. I’ve been there a couple of times. And it’s just a really great honor, I think to be able to go there and be asked to do something there. So I think that was probably like the most like, Wow, I can’t believe like they actually come here.
So you’ve served lawmakers and senators and yeah, and everyone’s pretty cool. Yeah, that’s really cool. Just
honestly, like driving up in the parking lot. I’m like, wow, like, I can’t believe I’m about to go inside the Capitol and serve a bunch of people. That’s pretty cool. Yeah,
that’s really neat. So what about charcuterie? Like, I’ve always wondered this, like, how do you approach it? Is there like any etiquette involved that you just, you know, you take your plate and you just have at the table? Or is there a certain order in which you should grab things? I don’t know. I’m very, very neurotic. So that’s me, I’ll probably overthinking it.
I feel like it’s definitely not organized. Okay. It’s kinda just like, it’s definitely ordered. I think when I do my grazing tables, it’s just like, here and there and everywhere. So you just kind of grab what you like. But there’s no, I don’t think there’s no like proper way to just grab anything. So I think start off with the cheese and then you get some type of meat to go with it. And then maybe you start there. And then you can see, okay, what kind of jam so I want to pair with it. Or what do I want to what else do I want to nibble on with a grating table? I think it’s just any, whatever your whatever your vibes are that day.
Okay. Well, good. That makes it a little less intimidating because, you know, grab things, okay.
Yeah, I think I think I always start off with a fruit. I think it’s a good palate cleanser. So maybe that would be a good start. So like a grape or something, cleanse your palate, and so you can start tasting the cheeses.
That sounds like a plane. Yeah. So what’s your favorite pairing that comes on a table to where you’re like, I can’t believe this goes together. But this works perfectly.
So my favorite cheese is an organic Jack cheddar. And I love to pair that with a spicy jam. So like a sweet pepper jam. And then like a regular like water cracker. Yeah. To me, that’s like the best pairing is spicy and sweet. To me, that’s like, every day. Always my go to it’s always going to be good. Also, I think brigus is a really popular cheese. So like a slice of brie, a green apple and a drizzle of honey. It’s also like a really good pairing.
Awesome. Yeah, I’m with you. That sounds. Yeah. So what are some things that you see go like first off the charcuterie board or crazing table to where people kind of grab that first? It’s like the hot the hot ticket item on the table.
Yeah, I would say it’s the goat cheese. So I do like a vanilla infused goat cheese that’s wrapped in blueberries. And I think people gravitate towards that one because it’s really pretty. I think, like, Oh, what’s that? So they describe that first and then it ends up being like the fan favorite.
That’s the that one. That one goes first.
So bloop of Sylvan mela infuse goat cheese with blueberries on the outside.
Yes, that’s probably like the top number one cheese everyone likes the best for
Yeah, it has a little sweet has a little fun from the goat cheese. Yeah, the vanilla in there. Yes. Or yet so.
Oh, yeah. Yes. It’s the perfect cheese.
Awesome. About You know, charcuterie boards are for meat people. You know the worst Ikuta READMEs meat. So do you offer anything that kind of caters to the plant base folks, is that possible to make just like a just a fruit and cheese board may not be charcuterie per se.
I honestly can do anything anyone asks for us. I can do just said cheese I can do vegan cheese’s. I will say that I haven’t found a vegan cheese that I like personally. But the people that eat them, they’ll they’ll like it. So sometimes I just won’t ask for cheese or just the last for veggies and fruit and like the pairings but I can really just anything someone bring to me I can do it.
What has been like kind of the toughest part of having this business,
I would say just trying to stay motivated. I’m really creative and ambitious person in general. But just staying motivated and just keeping up with like the different trends, I would say is a little too tough, but thank God for like social media. I’m scrolling through social media all the time just trying to gravitate towards just new fresh ideas and just trying to be more creative. So I’ll see someone do something and I’ll try to make it myself. Like, okay, I like that. So that like keeps me motivated. So until that was the most toughest part of that this is
what has been like your latest piece of inspiration. Can you share that? Or is it kind of
top secret? No, I can share my latest inspiration. So I did a hocus pocus thing board last week. Which I got the idea? Well, someone asked me to do a hocus pocus for it. And I researched like different people that did one and I found it on social media. Found one got inspired by it and then pretty much did the inspired by her board and did one. So I think that one would be my most latest one. I did that one last Friday, when hocus pocus came out. To me.
So yeah, kind of the segue into fall you know as fall we enter fall flavors, pumpkin spice everything. Apple Cinnamon, everything. How can you add if you’re kind of DIY a charcuterie board at home? How can you add foul flavors? To your shark? Booderee
board? Yeah, so I’m not a pumpkin spice kind of girl. But there are different pumpkin spice inspired and flavored cheeses that people can use. I will sometimes add a lot of fall color. So like apricot, and oranges, big. Sometimes I’ll add like little small pumpkins just to give it like a little pop of color for grazing tables. So I would say start there. And then just work your way out. So maybe doing like, not the green grapes. But the purple grapes. Those are more foul ish. And maybe like smoking cheeses, I would say. I think that brings it into false. I’m trying to do that. So I’ve been segwaying my cheese flavorings to like more calm, neutral ball list, but I don’t really do the pumpkin spice.
Is hit or miss for me too. Sometimes. It’s a little aggressive.
Yeah. That’s my request to have it. I’ll I’ll add that.
Yeah. And I’m a sweet potato girl from the south, you know? Yeah. Yeah. For sure. So how, you know when I’ve seen pictures of these beautiful, massive grazing tables, you know, how does the shopping go for that? Why variety and amount of food and kind of how do you do it all.
So it’s really it’s just me, I’m a one man show. And I dedicate about two days a week to grocery shop. So usually I’ll do like Mondays and Fridays. So Mondays will be my shopping for the entire next five days. And then Fridays will be for the weekend. And I’ll have a list. And I’ll start at one store out. Usually I also will order things online during the weekend. So there’ll be here by Monday. And I’ll just start off and I’ll go through like five different stores. Oh, and I’ll circle Yeah, it’s it’s a lot. But I’ll have helper sometimes get other things for me, and then carrying it all, to the car. But it’s a lot. It’s a lot of grocery shopping. Everyone the grocery store knows who I am because I’m there all the time getting 100 things that that’s probably also the toughest part, the grocery shopping, I would say is a lot. So do
you cook at all as well? Or is this kind of your first kind of stepping your foot into the culinary world doing charcuterie boards?
So when I was about 10, I went to be a chef. And my idol was emerald. So my mom asked me a brand Yes, I want to be emerald. Bam I still to this day, I want to be emerald. And I really want to be a chef. But I’ve also wanted to be like everything else in the world. But the chef and cooking and culinary really sticks with me for a while so I just I’ve always loved to cook and just try different recipes. I’ve tried to do catering once but just I don’t really know how to make a lot for a lot of people. If that makes sense. I don’t know how to like make the recipe for 10 but I can make it for three. I enjoy cooking I just don’t I wouldn’t cook for like a lot of people but I do enjoy cooking every day.
Awesome. So what brings you like the most joy out of doing this? What’s the the aspect that makes you go like this is my favorite part of everything.
So I’m really really creative and I love art and I really feel like my charcuterie boards are a piece of art. So whenever I’m done with anything I kind of step back and look at and like, well, I this letter deserves to be an art gallery. So I think that’s the most satisfaction than able to use my love for cooking, and my love for art and make it into one thing. So it’s just, it’s really been like amazing. Like, I really will look at something, I’ll step back and say, wow, like, I can’t believe I did that, because it’s just that beautiful. I think it’s honestly a piece of art.
What has been like, the most satisfying moment, you know, somebody has seen your charcuterie board or seeing the grazing table, like, what has what has been that moment to you where you’re just like, This is what I do this for.
There’s been so many times where I get just like the most positive and inspiring compliments. But I did one in May for a derby party, and the host of the party ordered like three dozen roses for me to use with the party. So I was able to incorporate that into the board. And it was huge as for like 140 people. And I would state for a while and like watch them. Look at it. And everyone was just so amazed from it. I’ve just that to me was like really fulfilling. I got in a car I called my mom like, oh my gosh, like people are so happy with my work. And I had a photographer there that took pictures of it. It was just that to me was like wow, like that was the most beautiful experience for me, just to hear everyone’s compliments of my art.
So is this something that you, you know, you plan to do forever, as long as people want charcuterie boards, you know, yeah, I’m willing to make them or is there another kind of aspect of kind of serving people delicious food that you would like to do in the future?
Um, for right now, I think I’m gonna stick to gestion coutries because it’s already a lot of work in itself. I do plan on doing this for maybe like another actually, I don’t know, I think I want to do it forever. And so I can’t anymore or until it’s maybe not popular anymore. Hopefully it stays popular and relevant. But I think that I’m gonna stick with Sharkoon theory I eventually I want to bring it into like doing brunch boards and dessert boards, but still like in the charcuterie family.
What are your thoughts on the butter boards that are
I liked them? Awesome.
Well, I just I want to have one so I can see how it works. Because I’m just like, this seems kind of messy for no reason. At the same time, but I’m just like, it’s gorgeous at the same time and who doesn’t love butter and bread? That’s right. The best thing ever. So yeah, yeah, I wanna I want to actually do one with people to see how well it like, actually works functions.
Yeah, I want to make one. I like the aesthetic of the butter board. So I can’t wait to make one. I saw one awesome with like cream cheese. And they made with bagels. Yes. I want to make that one for someone. Hopefully someone orders it soon. But I like I think it’s a cool little concept. It’s pretty.
So are there any other kind of new trends that you’ve noticed the size, the butter boards, and in terms of charcuterie and fruit and cheese plates.
People are just so creative these days. They’re doing dessert boards. I tried to do a community board last week, which is was cute for like teenagers. I saw someone do like a sharp coterie tree. They Oh yeah, I’ll do like four feet tall, like a Christmas time type thing. And it was charcuterie like and toothpicks around it. And I’ve been asked to do that. Like I just don’t really know how I’m going to execute it. But I shall try. But there just has, there’s so many different things you can do with it.
I was going to ask them Oh, you’ve been to a lot of like different parties and events. What’s something that you’ve learned about just entertaining in general, not just you know, with the boards and the grazing tables, and all the delicious meats and cheeses but just something in general that you’ve learned about entertaining from from doing this.
So I do a lot of weddings. And I’m really fascinated with wedding planning in wedding like being a coordinator. So I always like ask the coordinators like how they’re feeling that day and they always are just so stressed out. So that part has been really quite interesting. Wedding coordinators have like the most stressful job of the day, just making sure everything is running smoothly. But I think it’s something that I could do. I I’m really organized I I’ve always wanted like just try it for a day. But I think that’s been the most interesting thing. Doing this. Usually I get there. At the end of the chaos. I’m getting there like an hour or two before cocktail hour start. So I’m there like everything’s calmed down, but I hear all the stories that have happened. I was before. So that has been funny and interesting this see. And also, I guess, just regular hosting at people’s homes, a lot of them feel like they need to be doing more when I’m just there to do the food. So they feel like oh, I need to be doing something else. But they’re happy to relax and just allow me to do the charcuterie and then have their guests come. So that’s that part’s rewarding.
So you also kind of have the chance to partner with some other Tallahassee businesses. How can you explain a little bit more about those opportunities that you’ve had to collaborate with other local businesses? Yeah, so
that part has been really cool. I have collaborated with a coffee shop here in Tallahassee. It’s called Argonaut coffee shop. And I do like little mini boards for them. And they reached out to me, they just needed some more things to offer on their menu. So that part has been cool. I also worked with entertainment, catering, which is a catering business here in Tallahassee. And also just different law firms and dentists offices, those 10 charcuterie boards to their partners that I’ve collaborated with. So that part’s been cool people, it’s really just word of mouth. Honestly, people have told them about me. And then they’ve reached out to see if I want to get on their team. And it’s been really, yeah, it’s been really nice. It’s a nice thing to do.
Cool. So if someone is not necessarily in this area, but you know, they, they maybe need some help putting together a charcuterie board or, you know, they may have a party or an event is there anything that you do this, that you can provide? Maybe my listeners who are not necessarily local
one day, hopefully, in the future, I do hope to start mailing out out of the state. Hopefully, fingers crossed. But for now, I do travel and I can travel. In Florida, I offer classes, where I’ll come to you, it’s kind of like, jumbo Pampered Chef. Yes, it’s kind of like that. So like, I’ll come to you set everything up, and I’ll teach you how to make a board, then I’ll clean up and I’ll leave and everyone could enjoy the board after. So that’s a way people can learn. And also, I’ve done it via zoom before, where I like pack up the kits, and people will come pick them up somewhere. And then we’ll do it on a zoom. Or you can always just follow my social media and I always like will post different tips and tricks or just different ways you can make your own board at home.
Awesome. So I’m sure you’ve looked through tons of charcuterie pictures online. So are there any mistakes that you notice that people make when they’re making their charcuterie board to where you’re like, I know that you should put this this way or this way? Or, you know, is it just something to wear, you know, even if you just put put it on there, it’s fine.
I think everyone has their own like style on how they do things. So how I might do it can be like the complete different way someone else might do it. But the one thing I will say is I don’t like putting like the pickled items on the board, I’ll put them back into RAM kin or something. Because I don’t want the vinegar to disrupt the taste of the cheeses. So sometimes when I see that, I’m like, Oh, I hope that doesn’t like mess up their board. But other than that, I think everyone that I follow at least or that I look on on social media. It’s pretty much isn’t they look good? It’s just different than mine. Yeah,
there’s actually a group is terrible, but it’s hilarious. And it’s got a it says that that’s what is it? That’s not a deep Sharkoon or it is just people put in like random spreads and random random things that are not charcuterie on a play. Like I think one hat like Spaghettios and cracking is like a bunch of random. But I was hoping that you did see and it feels like that. So it looks like you you’re on the professional side.
Yeah, I think my algorithm has been like just like the pretty ones but people have sent me like, you know, things like that are like Taco board. She would do that. Yeah, like random stuff. Yeah. I like tivity
Yeah, I love the taco wars are interesting. I just, I just I’m like data tacos gonna get cold, you know, which. Yeah, you don’t have to worry about anything. You didn’t go you know, it’s all supposed to be eaten away. So
Well, thank you so much for being a part of the show. Somebody wants to find out more about your business or follow you for maybe classes and opportunities. Where would they do that?
So you can find me on Instagram and Facebook at It boards by Alexis. And there you can see all of my work but information. You can just message me when you’re ready to order.
Okay, sounds great. Make sure you follow her, because her work is amazing. And I’m gonna put some of those pictures in this video, but you’re gonna want to go see them for yourself. Make sure you check her out. As always, I’ve been just you can follow me on social media. Eat something delicious this week. And if you do, make sure to tell me about it and always treat this episode like gossip or the gospel and tell someone about it. Thanks, everybody, and have a great week. Thank you
Transcribed by https://otter.ai