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Up Your Charcuterie Board Game With Tips From a Hudson Valley Expert

Photos by Meghan Spiro Photography

Build a beautiful, locally sourced charcuterie board for your next get-together, with creative ideas from Sydney Thibault of Tout Le Fromage.

charcuterie board

Tout Le Fromage’s fall spread, featuring local produce, cheese, and meats.

Charcuterie boards have exploded in popularity on Instagram and TikTok, and it’s no wonder—they’re prettier, fancier, and a lot more fun to serve than cheese and crackers, and they allow party hosts to show off their creativity. For some, artistic meat and cheese arranging is a hobby, and for others, like Sydney Thibault, it’s a business. Thibault founded her Bedford Hills-based company Tout Le Fromage in October 2020. She relies on locally-sourced ingredients (Salinger’s Orchard in Brewster and Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard in North Salem are among her favorites) as well as her own home garden. On the next page, Thibault shares ideas for a crowd-pleasing autumnal board.

charcuterie board

Q&A: Get on Board

Tell us how you build your boards.

I always start with my cheeses & meats. I put them down and use them as a map to plan out the rest of my board, filling in the spaces with flavors, textures, and colors from the rest of my ingredients.

Go-to bread? Cheese? Fall fruit?

For bread, the smoked olive focaccia by Idyllwild Bread. Beth, the maker, is a local bread genius. My favorite cheese, though? That’s the million-dollar question… probably a complex and crystally cheddar called Montamore by Sartori, or Nimbus by Chaseholm Creamery—from right here in Pine Plains. My favorite fall fruit is definitely a perfectly ripe pear. I love Seckel pears.

What meats do you like to use?

I strongly recommend Bresaola by Brooklyn Cured and the wild boar salumi by La Salumina. Smoking Goose has some pretty incredible creations.

Favorite places for ingredients?

I try to shop as locally as possible. Two orchards are near and dear to my heart— Salinger’s & Harvest Moon. The farmers there love what they do, and you can just tell. For local cured meats and cheese—I like Ridgefield Organics & 109 Cheese (also in Ridgefield). DeCicco & Sons also has a beautiful selection of cheese.

Where do you buy your boards?

From all over. Manchester Woodcraft in Vermont makes beautiful boards that I like to pick up when I’m there, but places like HomeGoods and Michael’s often have nice, inexpensive options.

Why are graze boards so popular?

People love them because they’re an attractive, elegant start to an evening with friends and family. I’ve been making them for almost 10 years, and my absolute favorite part is that they bring people together—everyone gathers around the board. I think they’ve blown up in the last 12–18 months because of the pandemic—people have spent more time on Instagram and TikTok and have been inspired by all the charcuterie board content.

charcuterie board

Thibault in action at Salinger’s Orchard, Brewster.

Vegan subs for meat and cheese?

I must admit I haven’t experimented with “nut cheeses” as much as I would like, but I plan to. Tofu is another thing I’d like to experiment with dressing up for boards because I think it acts as a blank slate for soaking up beautiful flavors. Hellenic Farms makes a “fig salami” and it’s really delicious. You can slice it thin; the texture is reminiscent of salami, but the flavor is sweet. I love their Aleppo pepper and orange zest roll.

What about an alternate to honey?

Simply Jam makes jalapeño jam in a large variety of flavors. (Full disclosure: it’s my mom’s company, she sells it at Salinger’s and Harvest Moon.) This year, we worked together to create a cherry flavor and a peach flavor from fruit that we picked at Salinger’s. She also sells a garlic jam and a mint jam that are unique and perfect for my boards. I love adding apple butter to fall boards, too.

What’s next for your company?

I started Tout Le Fromage last October during the pandemic and I have so many ideas. It’s really important to me to support local farms and markets, so I’ll continue to do that. I’m currently working on a few recipes for a vegetarian pâté. I want to create a cashew and mushroom version. For now, a company called Alexian Pâté has a delicious tri-colored vegetable pâté that I love to use.

Related: 8 Kitchen Trends to Try in Your Hudson Valley Home

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