The former Tart Sweets location at 848 W. Fifth St. has a new tenant. Board Babe, a charcuterie-board business, moved into the space in December.
Board Babe currently offers only pickup at the spot, but owner Taylor Hedges plans to open a retail café and lounge this winter, hopefully in time for Valentine’s Day.
Hedges, 23, is a young financial planner who starting assembling charcuterie boards for fun and posting them on her Instagram account.
“I was making them for family and friends," Hedges said. "I starting posting the charcuterie on Instagram, and it just blew up. All of the sudden people wanted to buy them.”
Hedges is one of many young entrepreneurs who have hopped on the charcuterie bandwagon. The trend took off in 2020 as a hobby for many people, because it didn’t require any cooking — only skills in arranging cured meats, cheese and other foods — and the colorful, decorative displays made for fun posts on photo-centric social-media platforms.
There now are at least two other charcuterie businesses in the Triad, Jam Packed Boards in Winston-Salem and Wanderlust Boards in Greensboro.
But so far, Hedges’ Board Babe is the only one in the area that plans a retail component. "When it opens, it will be like a café and lounge," Hedges said. "We’ll start doing sandwiches and salads and tapas, and we’ll have beer and wine."
Right now, though, all of her business is done through online orders that can be picked up at the shop.
Charcuterie historically refers to cured meats and similar preparations and the shops that sell them, such as delicatessens. Charcuterie boards, though, have long referred to a kind of antipasto platter of cured meats paired with such complementary items as cheese, olives, fruits and nuts.
Hedges, like many riding the current charcuterie wave, expands the definition even more to include such foods as cookies and pastries.
Board Babe’s packages start at $30 to serve as few as one person and go up to $400 to serve 16 to 20 people.
Prices are for the food arranged and boxed. For an additional fee, customers can buy a custom wood board, as would be used to display the charcuterie at a party or other event. "I have a local woodworking guy (Mathew Oakley of Oakley Woodworks in Stokes County) who makes all my boards for me," Hedges said.
The $50 Date Night Box includes three meats, three cheeses and two spreads, as well as such accompaniments as fresh fruit, dried fruit, olives, nuts, cornichons, sweet treats, fresh herbs and flowers.
The $300 Deluxe Board, for 12 to 15 people, includes five meats, six cheeses, six crackers/bread and four spreads, plus fruit, nuts and other accompaniments.
Specialty boards include the Brunch Board and the Divine Dessert Board, each made in varying sizes for $20 a person. Brunch items include pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit, jams, syrups, bagels, pastries, breakfast meats and other items. Dessert boards include chocolate, cookies, brownies, sweet fruit, dips, and pastries.
Hedges said that her boards incorporate some local foods, such as Goat Lady cheese and Giacomo’s cured meats, but is mostly sourced from supermarkets and other stores around town.
Hedges is hoping that, once the pandemic recedes, she can offer more in-store dining, catering of events, and also workshops to teach people how to make their own charcuterie boards.
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