I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for unique activities for a night out! Though I obviously enjoy dinner or drinks, I also like sharing a different kind of experience with someone. Despite the fact that I’d like to say I stumbled across charcuterie board workshops by my own accord, I have to credit my cousin for sharing an Instagram story. As soon as I saw it, I was sort of hooked, and so was my father.
A firm supporter of my love of charcuterie, my dad wanted to share a special evening with me before jetting off to Italy for my Master’s. And what better way to bond than with a father-daughter charcuterie date night.
In charge of the whole shabang is Sarah Lavigne. Founder of the custom furniture company Lavigne & Co Design, her passion for all things woodworking influenced her decision to begin hosting Charcuterie Board Workshops—an amazing business idea I wish I had!
Tickets for the Charcuterie Board Workshop begin at $160 for one individual creating a board. Couples who chose to share one board pay an extra $100 to participate in the event.
Excited, we arrived at a studio in Liberty Village, ready for an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, the night had turned into a blizzardy evening and our class size had dropped to less than half, dwindling to a group of only seven! A blessing in disguise as that meant more charcuterie for us to indulge in and more one-on-one time with our instructor!
To begin, we started the workshop with a glass of wine and a bit of mingling with the other couples and individuals. It’s relatively easy to talk to randoms when you all have the shared interest of food—or more specifically, charcuterie!
As we all began to loosen up a bit, we were invited to watch how a charcuterie board can be styled. Though there is no wrong or right way, our wonderful hosts encouraged building a board with many flavours, textures, and colours. Basically, the more variety the better.
A good charcuterie board should have:
Cheese: Sharp, mild, crumbly, creamy
Meat: smoked, mild, spicy
Jams/Spreads: Think fruity jams, jellies, chutney, honey, tapenades
Nuts: Toasted, spiced or plain ole’ nuts
Fruits: Dried or fresh (Try slicing pears thinly to act as a cracker for keto guests!)
Accents: Olives, pickles
Breads: Crackers, crostini
Additionally, make sure that your board has a mix of:
Things that are pre-sliced and things that the guest can cut or slice
Sweet and savoury elements
Pops of spice
Another thing to note is that because charcuterie is all about building up these little bites, trying something new is a huge component of the overall experience. Since boards tend to have so many things on it, you as the charcuterie styler can step out of your comfort zone and purchase a different type of cheese or meat. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to commit to a huge chunk of a foreign cheddar or copious amounts of a spiced soppressata, you can ask your deli counter for a smaller amount since you won’t need so much on your board anyway.
Likewise, the actual presentation should also showcase a lil bit of diversity. For example, it’s not necessary to keep all cheeses or meats in one specific section of the board. Instead, our workshop coordinators suggested that you create lil pockets all over the board with pairings to help take out some guesswork for your company. This also eliminates guests reaching over one another as they munch.
We were encouraged to play with different height dimensions, too. Think nuts and chocolate bark pieces in martini glasses. Not only does this save valuable space on your board, but it also looks quite striking!
After the styling was complete, we were invited to take photos for future reference before digging in and enjoying what had just been built! An absolutely delicious spread, I think my favourite bites of the night were prosciutto, camembert and red pepper jelly on a pear crostini. I also loved drizzling creamed honey over top of a fresh fig and sampling a cheddar cheese made with Irish stout.
As our sampling drew to a finish, we moved onto the messier portion of the evening: making our charcuterie boards. I should note that it’s less about physically crafting the board and more about finishing it. We didn’t have to use a saw to cut hunks of wood or anything like that. What we did have to do was select a board that had been pre-cut for our workshop and then remove its outer bark with a special tool.
After all of the bark was removed and Sarah and her helpers had given the okay, we were able to sand our boards. Cue lots of dust—bad idea for me to wear a white sweater!
Once the board was completely smooth, we then put mineral oil on them to ensure the wood would stay protected and last for future charcuterie endeavours. As the class ended, we took a group photo and thanked our amazing hosts for the fun evening.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this workshop to anyone looking for an out-of-the-box experience. The Charcuterie Board Workshop is a fabulous way to bond, savour and create with someone that you love. I think this works amazingly as a date night night simply because of the various elements it involves. You can share drinks and light bites while conversing and admiring the artwork in the space, and then get cozy as you sand your charcuterie board together!
Since the workshop, I have used my board twice already for family and friends! I can’t wait to keep creating and sharing in the spirit of charcuterie!
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Would you try out the Charcuterie Board Workshop? Let me know what you think below!