Three Cheers for Local Charcuterie and Cheese and More

And never forget that olive view

Here comes the spring again, brightening its bluebonnet way through the fading dregs of a Texas winter, bringing more garden party opportunities and maybe more excuses to gather folks inside as well. But who needs any excuse for camaraderie, really, or to celebrate our friends in amiable company and with a variety of sweet and savory comestibles?

That’s a rhetorical question, but the answer “No one does – let’s party!” brings with it the need for practical culinary accommodation. So, shall we get to looking at the cheese boards and the sweets spreads and the meaty mise en scènes available in these here parts?

Yes, let’s, at least thrice:

Building the boards at Casero

1. CASERO We’ve championed the goodness of Casero for years, as have the Good Food Awards people, and we’re glad to remind you again of Jackie Letelier and Emily Stengel’s excellent storefront at 2100 Robert Browning in the Mueller development, where you can get all manner of edible arrangements, from the most simple to the most extravagant, sure to make your party memorable for only the best reasons.

2. SPREAD & CO. Yes, Austin’s “first grazing board company turned cheese-centric cafe,” located at 1601 W. 38th, can cater up a plethora of eye-pleasing and mouthwatering wonderments to supercharge any soirée. Owners Rosemary and Austin Ewald (she’s the confectionist, he’s the baker) can help you plan the platters to please the palates, and you may already know (from eating at the delightful Spread & Co. cafe for breakfast or lunch) how very pleasing those platters will be. Bonus: Look who’s right nearby with wine.

3. ANTONELLI'S Well, everybody knows Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in this town – and John & Kendall are renowned throughout the cheesemongering world – and if you’ve had a remarkable cheese plate at any of Austin’s finer restaurants, chances are Antonelli’s is where it came from, so a stop here when you're stocking up for a great party is, well, it's obviously a good idea. Bonus: Besides their vast holdings of cheese, Antonelli’s also has a variety of condiments and confections awaiting your perusal in their welcoming Hyde Park store.

EXTRA: We’ll insist that olives are one of the best things to find among the treasures of a proper grazing board: Green olives, black olives, Kalamata olives, Arbequina olives – you name ’em and we’ll be there, nomming happily on those fruits of ancient trees. But such happy feasting can get a mite … unsightly, right? With all those partially gnawed olive pits piling up everywhere, and –

Hold on! Look what we’ve found: The elegant Corico Olive Boat, a sleek olive-serving dish that features a smooth plate with a curved vase in its center for hiding those bothersome pits, allowing you to keep all your well-planned tablescapes spotless and lovely. Bonus: The two-piece white ceramic design comes apart for easy cleaning – and it’s dishwasher safe.

Oh, now you want one just as badly as we did? And you want us to tell you where to find one?

Reader, you know your Austin Chronicle team is here for you – and this is where the Corico Olive Boat is.


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