Laid off from her marketing job when the pandemic hit, Blaire Dorin was looking for a way to spice up weekends at home. “It was peak Covid, we were not really leaving the house, and the days were bleeding together,” she says. Channeling her Italian heritage, she found herself constructing elaborate antipasti platters to share with her fiance, Chris Maple—not just as a means of sustenance but a way to think beyond the gloomy day-to-day. “Plating an antipasti spread, sitting on the porch, drinking a glass of wine, and talking about the food led to talking about traveling and the future,” Dorin says. It provided a respite from the “seemingly endless chaos happening at the time.”
In February 2021, Dorin took the platters from hobby to business with a shop in Old Fourth Ward’s Irwin Street Market called Bottega Bene. It’s one of a handful of emerging vendors in the Atlanta area who take fare traditionally served only at restaurants and parties and make it easy to take home—or, for that matter, anywhere. No assembly required; all you’ve got to do is open the box (and supply the wine). Most sellers anchor their offerings—sometimes called grazing boards or party platters—with cheese and charcuterie. But some take it a step further, including fruit and vegetables or skipping straight to dessert.
At Bottega Bene, Dorin sells both build-your-own and predesigned cheese and charcuterie plates feeding one to 12 people, with options that can include Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, fennel-infused salami from the Spotted Trotter, and accompaniments like Doux South pickled onions. The antipasti spreads, as Dorin calls them, can be ordered online in advance or inside the BeltLine-adjacent shop. Meatless spreads are available, as well as brunch boards featuring lox, cream cheese, Georgia Sourdough everything crackers, sea-salted tomatoes, and caperberries. But Dorin and Maple aren’t the only players on the scene.
Also established this year, Graze & Vines offers cheese and charcuterie plates with generous amounts of fruit and nuts, as well as gluten-free options. Orders must be placed online 48 hours in advance and picked up at Provisions on Main or the Local Pantry, both in Duluth, or can be delivered for a fee.
Despite the name of her company, Neakyn Boroujerdi of Cheese Me does offer meat in her boxes and boards, but vegetables and hummus help round out larger orders. She also creates Instagram-friendly meat-and-cheese cones for snacking—or passing—on the go.
Elizabeth Schmitt of ATL Boards compiles candy “charcuterie” for every occasion, with options including sweet, sour, gummy, or bark. Oh, and speaking of bark: There’s a board for dogs, too.
This article appears in our June 2021 issue.