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All A-Board The Charcuterie Craze

Good taste never goes out of style.

When it comes to charcuterie boards; it seems the saying is literal, and always literally delicious. 

The ultra-Instagrammable boards may seem like the “it” dish of the moment. Their popularity, however, can be traced back to 15th Century France.  The ample spreads were initially introduced to keep from wasting meat; a way to make cured meat more approachable and enjoyable. In fact, the word “charcuterie” derives from French words that together mean cooked meat.   

While charcuterie has remained a European staple since those early days, its early rise in the United States is often credited with the rise in winemaking nationwide in the 1900s. As wine began trending, so did grazing boards to accompany particular varietals. 

Over the years, while often still called charcuterie boards, they have evolved to include more than cured meats and cheeses. It is common to see nuts, breads, spreads, fruit, and vegetables on most modern-day boards, many with a focus on locally sourced artisan items. Modern-day boards also often deviate from tradition altogether and are piled high with desserts, candy, tapas and even oysters and caviar. 

Family Table Catering, founded by Jamie Oman, knows the power of a well-styled board all too well. 

After graduating from Scottsdale Culinary Institute and getting her start at her parents’ Italian restaurant, Oman built custom boards along with epic custom menus as part of her leadership role at Caffe Boa in Ahwatukee for more than a decade. 

“There is nothing like meeting with someone who has a vision to do something special to mark a major milestone and then pulling out all the stops to exceed even their wildest expectations,” says Oman.  

In 2021, when the Caffe Boa owner prepared to sell the business, Oman decided to go out on her own with Family Table Catering. While she initially catered private dinners and parties, thanks to her keen eye for design, when she styled a dining room table into a visually appealing grazing table, a light bulb went off as it related to her business. 

“That table made a statement, so I started posting eye-popping board creations them across social media,” says Oman. “Within days, my DMs blew up with clients seeking me to style charcuterie for their events.” 

Now nicknamed “the charcuterie girl” across the Valley, Oman is building everything from date night boards to grazing tables for bridal showers, weddings, graduation parties and more. 

“I do anywhere from 15 to 20 actual events each month, dreaming up brunch boards, vegetarian boards, snack boards, dessert boards, movie-themed boards, and everything in between, and I also build one-off boards for smaller groups as well.”

Oman’s small boards start at $75 and large grazing tables at $500. She will deliver her appetizing art and set it for clients up anywhere in the Valley, and she provides both set-up and delivery her neighbors across Ahwatukee at no additional cost. She also continues to cater events of all kinds beyond building boards.

Find Oman on Instagram at @FamilyTableCooks.

Family Table Catering’s tips to build the perfect board: 

  • Decide on a theme and source ingredients that can play upon the theme versus what is on easily accessible. 

  • Be sure to make note of any allergies or dietary restrictions. 

  • Never work linear. Take a creative and rustic approach and let the product flow organically. 

  • Use fruit – dried and fresh – to provide pops of color. Candy can help as well. 

  • Mix and match different textures – honey, hummus, nuts, preserves – to attract the eye. 

  • Build the board up vertically with creative stacking and layering versus just spreading everything to ensure dimension.  

  • Watch tutorials on how to cut ingredients easily and safely into hearts, flowers, stars and other shapes, and sprinkle into your design.  

  • Use fresh herbs throughout the board to add aroma.  

  • Use seasonal edible flowers as garnish.

  • Have empty space? Use different breads, crackers, cookies, popcorn and chips to make it look full.