You’ve probably seen them all over social media — gorgeous assortments of Gruyere, Gouda, brie, prosciutto, salami and more in aesthetically pleasing arrangements. Whether you call them grazing boards or adult Lunchables, there’s no doubt about it — the charcuterie trend is as strong as ever.
Some longtime businesses, like Kaimuki-based Chocolate + Vanilla Bakery, started offering charcuterie after seeing the demand for the trendy platters.
“We saw the craze for these boards, and since I have a storefront, it’s a great opportunity to offer them to customers,” says owner/ pastry chef Jill Yamashita. “We first started selling charcuterie for Valentine’s Day — that board included assorted cheeses, chocolate-dipped strawberries, macarons, brownies and more.”
Other charcuterie businesses, including many that are solely online, launched during the pandemic. Fig & Ginger Honolulu, owned by Yim Kwok and Jackie Park, is just one example.
“Jackie resides between Hawaii and California, and we used to hang out and graze over charcuterie, cheese and wine,” Kwok says. “When COVID hit, she couldn’t come home and we missed doing what we loved. We wanted to offer this experience for all of Hawaii to enjoy at home.”
Bubbly & Bleu, owned by Cheryl and Fred DeAngelo, is another charcuterie business that started over the last year. The DeAngelos were in the restaurant industry for years, but making charcuterie boards stems from a personal interest for Cheryl.
“We were married in Florence, so cheese and charcuterie always remind me of that time,” she says.
Last year, making charcuterie boxes was a way for DeAngelo to show family and friends she was thinking of them. She dropped off custom arrangements to friends for Thanksgiving; from then, people started asking for more. DeAngelo started accepting orders online and via Instagram direct message.
“It all happened so fast,” she says. “We’ve only been doing this for five months.”
Coming up with a business name was easy for DeAngelo, who loves sparkling rosé and blue cheese. Bubbly & Bleu’s current menu features cheese and charcuterie boxes in varying sizes and savory items like smoked salmon and bresaola boxes.
Next up for the business: Opening its Kaimuki storefront, which is slated for the end of June.
“We started looking for a space in February, and this spot (on Koko Head Avenue) was available,” DeAngelo says. “Kaimuki is the perfect place for us because the neighborhood is so busy.”
Thanks to Bubbly & Bleu’s business partners Craig and Eriko Nagano and Wendy Kobayashi, along with other collaborations, customers will be able to choose from a premium selection of charcuterie and cheeses at the storefront.
“We’re going to be a cheese boutique,” DeAngelo says. “We’re partnering with The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills and bringing in a high-end line of cheeses. Part of my vision is to offer customers individual tasting plates featuring meats, cheese and fruits from the day’s selection.”
While the store will be open during the day, DeAngelo plans to keep evenings reserved for private events and smaller gatherings.
“Fred makes a lot of things on our current menu from scratch, like our sundried tomato relish and smoked gouda dip,” she says. “Our new menu will have flatbreads and there will also be a tasting menu.”
“There are so many people who love cheese just as much as I do,” DeAngelo adds. “The support has been overwhelming. It’s neat to be able to show my daughter that if you have a passion, you can do it.”
Bubbly & Bleu
1132 Koko Head Ave., Kaimuki
Fig & Ginger Honolulu
76 N. Pauahi St., Honolulu
Chocolate + Vanilla Bakery
1115 12th Ave., Honolulu
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