There’s a brand new way to level up on your next date night, picnic, socially distant BBQ, virtual happy hour or even your weekly movie night.
That’s thanks to Charcuter-Me, 770 N. Jefferson St., a brand new food-based business specializing in beautiful ready-made cheese and charcuterie boards.
Charcuter-Me, which just launched last week, is owned by Amanda Mattefs who says the business was birthed from both a love for cheese and a desire to spark joy at a time when people are spending more time cooped up at home.
"My family gets together a lot. And the question always was: ‘What do I bring?’" says Mattefs, a graphic designer who says she took inspiration from the increasing number of cheese and charcuterie boards she saw on social media. "Eventually, it just became the expectation that that’s what I would bring."
But the notion of building cheese and charcuterie plates for a living didn't occur to her until she moved back to Milwaukee after spending a decade living and working in San Diego, California.
"I've always loved cheese," she says. "I also really love the idea of supporting local businesses. And after COVID 19 hit, I saw a lot of people looking for things that were really fun and different."
So, Mattefs decided to put her design aesthetic to work creating cheese and charcuterie boards that were as beautiful to look at as they were delicious.
Small biz helping small biz
As the idea took shape, Mattefs began searching for a commercial kitchen space. Serendipitously, a mutual friend connected Mattefs to Maddie Irle, co-owner of Smax, a new boxed lunch concept operating out of the Jefferson building in Downtown Milwaukee. And the two began to chat about the possibility of working out a deal for shared commercial kitchen space.
"We really have plenty of space," says Irle. "So we were happy to help out. Times are tough, and I’m aware of how difficult it is to launch a small business, so for us it’s really about supporting others as much as we can."
Mattefs says the meeting was fortuitous, noting that she’s grateful not only for the kitchen space, but for the mentorship Irle has provided.
"I don’t have much experience in the food industry," she says. "But Maddie [Irle] has been so helpful in terms of offering guidance and support. As we move forward, we’re looking at ways to help one another out through cross-marketing. And my hope is that we can even host some events together in the future."
Elevated snacking, delivered
Mattefs says that, all along, it was important to her to not only create a product that tasted good, but which was also beautiful.
"People eat first with their eyes," she says, noting that the presentation of her boards is something she hopes will set Charcuter-Me apart.
Charcuter-Me boards are available in six sizes, each of which is built to feed a specified number of people, either as a casual meal or as part of a larger spread.
Each features a combination of hard and soft cheeses, charcuterie and accompaniments including crackers, fruits, nuts, chocolate, olives and complementary condiments like jam and honey.
- The Baby Yoda, serves one as a meal or snacks for two ($26)
- Date Night, serves two or up to four as a snack ($40)
- Why Don’t You Just Meet Me in the Middle?, serves four to six or eight as a snack ($55)
- The Big Cheese, serves six to eight or 10 as a snack ($79)
- You’re So Xtra, serves eight to ten or 12 as a snack ($99)
- Party Like a Rockstar, serves 12 or 15+ as a snack ($129)
Each board is presented on an eco-friendly palm leaf tray so boards are ready to be served right out of the box. With the exception of large party-sized boards, customers also have the option to upgrade their box to include a reuseable bamboo board.
Boards can also be customized upon request, says Mattef. That includes requests for specific meats or cheeses or accommodations for gluten-free or vegan boards.
"We want our boards to be accessible to everyone," she says. "And I’m working on various partnerships that will make that easier."
Mattefs says that, moving forward she’ll be making an effort to partner with a variety of local businesses to source items like cheeses, charcuterie and jams. She also says she plans to grow the business by creating customized prepared cheese and charcuterie boards for local bars and restaurants.
"We’ve already partnered with Bavette in the Third Ward to make boards for them to offer to their carry-out customers," says Mattefs. "It’s a great way for them to offer a value-added item to their customers while saving on labor and added costs."
Charcuter-Me provides home delivery throughout Milwaukee County, but customers are also welcome to pick up their orders at the counter for Smax, located on the south end of the garden level food court inside the Jefferson Building.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.