Cue the charcuterie

Pack the perfect picnic — with a little help.
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Aperitivo's charcuterie boards rotate monthly and provide a balance of types of meats and cheeses. Courtesy Aperitivo

Kick your summer picnic up a notch with a cheese or charcuterie board. You can make your own or order a premade board from one of these fabulous places.

Aperitivo offers a rotating charcuterie board menu that changes monthly. It features eight cheeses and six meats. “We work to balance milk types (cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo), styles (bloomy rind, washed rind, gouda, cheddar, alpine, blue), and place of production to create a balance of options and flavors. Same for meats,” said Evan Talen, general manager. When Grand Rapids Magazine spoke with Aperitivo in the spring, it was operating on a truncated menu, offering the Monger’s Choice and Three Cheeses (see website for information).

Louise Earl Butcher’s charcuterie boards have more than a dozen meats to choose from. Courtesy Louise Earl Butcher

Louise Earl Butcher makes charcuterie boards for customers based on requests. “We make them to order once we have a conversation with the customer,” said Matthew Smith, owner. The boards typically consist of house-made meats like smoked andouille, chicken liver pâté and lamb terrine — there are more than a dozen meats to choose from, along with local and imported cheese options, and Marcona almonds, stuffed olives, pickled peppers, dried fruits and herbed crackers.

The Cheese Lady Grand Rapids puts together custom charcuterie boards for every occasion, serving two people to 200 people or more. From the basics of cheese, crackers, dried fruit and nuts to all the extras, like olives, artichokes, artisan salamis, prosciutto and Ibérico, pretty much anything in the store can be added to your charcuterie board. Every board is customized to order. You can sample and select your cheeses or leave it to the knowledgeable staff. “We can work with all budgets as well; cheese is an affordable luxury!” said Heather Zinn, from The Cheese Lady.

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