Making the cut
W e are all desperate for sunlight after the cold winter season and it shows. If you’re planning on soaking up the sun, make sure you have a great snack on hand. At goat.sheep.cow. and Avondale Wine & Cheese, that means a pre-made cheese and charcuterie board.
If you’ve planned ahead for your picnic, goat.sheep.cow. has stunning charcuterie and cheese plates that you can order with at least 24 hours notice. “You can’t do that kind of beautiful artwork on the fly,” said goat.sheep.cow. co-owner Patty Floersheimer. Note that these are charcuterie and cheese platters, because as Floersheimer explained, a charcuterie board in the traditional sense only includes meat. The boards we see with a combination of meats, cheeses, fruits and condiments are an Americanized version.
Floersheimer’s smallest sized platter is $60 as a full lunch for two people, or appetizers for four. The disposable wooden board it’s served on is perfect for a picnic because you don’t have to return it, and it’s easy to transport. The board includes three or four cheeses and two meats. The “perfect cheese board,” according to Floersheimer, includes a soft, semi-hard, hard and blue cheese. This creates a variety of textures, and to vary the flavor, each cheese may come from a different animal.
“If I put a soft goat, I might put a semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese, a hard cow’s milk cheese and a blue cheese,” Floersheimer said.
For the charcuterie part of the board, one of the popular options is salami and the other meat can be either coppa or speck. “Coppa is a ‘solid muscle meat’ because it isn’t ground, while speck is a slightly smoky long strip that kind of looks like bacon,” explained Floersheimer.
The meats are then folded nicely for an elegant presentation, further accented by the addition of dried fruits and sometimes olives for a salty, briney touch.
“Always try to finish the board with dried fruit and nuts,” added Floersheimer. “Cheeses are delicious, but that’s because everything is animal fat, which sounds awful, but it’s actually wonderful. The fruit lightens it up with things like dried cherries or marcona almonds to finish things off and get a break from the heaviness.”
In the springtime, lighten your cheese board with goat.sheep.cow’s selection of fresh goat cheese. “Nothing is more perfect (in the spring) than ‘fleur vert,’” said Floersheimer. “It means green flower and looks like a cake. It’s beautiful. It’s this curdy, nice goat cheese that’s covered on the outside with herbs, mostly tarragon and it’s delicious with a rosé.”
Speaking of beverages, the Meeting Street location of goat.sheep.cow. offers an expansive wine collection. On the flip side, if you’re looking for something caffeinated to go along with your picnic, babas on meeting recently joined forces in sharing the goat.sheep.cow.north space and is now serving coffee, tea, snacks and other café favorites. So the operations don’t compete with each other, goat.sheep.cow. no longer serves its daily sandwich at the Meeting Street location, but you can still find it at the Church Street location.
“We closed at the beginning of the pandemic, so when we reopened, it was just for retail,” said Floersheimer. “This beautiful space was sitting here going to waste, so we reached out to babas … It’s working out beautifully.”.
Avondale Wine & Cheese
For a more spur-of-the-moment springtime picnic, order a beautifully arranged 15-item to-go platter from Avondale Wine & Cheese with a few clicks on its website. Choose from an assortment of meat, cheese, condiments and accouterments, some of which are made in house.
“We’ve had Gorgonzola-stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto on our menu since we opened,” said co-owner Cat Kincaid. “Those are really good and different. We heat them up just a little bit so the cheese is slightly melted.”.
Another housemade item that Kincaid recommends for your platter is the duck rillette, an herb-infused, spreadable, confit-style pulled duck. Every board comes with a baguette from Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery.
“A good pairing would be duck rillette with blue cheese and fig jam. It would make a great build-your-own crostini,” added Kincaid.
When choosing meats for your board, Kincaid explained that prosciutto is definitely a crowd favorite, but for those who don’t eat pork or have allergies, bresaola is a great option. It’s made from 100% beef tenderloin and adds a different flavor profile to the board.
To add a Southern twist, Wine & Cheese offers homemade pimento cheese, which is Kincaid’s grandmother’s recipe. “I’m from Charleston; my granny is from Charleston, so it’s a Southern style recipe,” Kincaid said. “I never had it written down, I learned how to make it at their house and I had to write a recipe for it here, which was kind of difficult because I was used to throwing stuff together. I added pickled jalapeños to make it a little bit different.”
When you’re deciding how many items you should get for your group, Kincaid explained that four items is a good sized lunch for one person while 15 items can feed four to six, depending on hunger level.
If you really fall in love with an item (like the pimento cheese) you can order all of the items by the ounce or pound, so you can either make your own charcuterie board at home or just dive in with a spoon.
If you’d rather enjoy a springtime afternoon on Avondale Wine & Cheese’s patio, stop by on a Saturday to enjoy a rosé tasting along with your snacks. If you want to kick off the weekend a little early, the shop now offers lunch with assorted sandwiches and salads starting at noon, Thursday through Saturday. Enjoy a glass of wine with your meal or explore the retail section to find a bottle or choose from a variety of local beers.
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