WILLIAMSBURG — On social media, Charcuterie has become a bit of an art form in recent years.
If you search the hashtag “#Charcuterieboard” on Facebook or Instagram, you are bound to see a wide variety of shapes, colors, and arrangements made out of different types of cheese, cured meats, and fresh fruits. These arrangements are typically laid out on wooden boards.
“We can call ourselves artists. We beautifully arrange them onto aboard. We cut it, maneuver it, and shape it in ways that make you say ‘wow, I can’t believe you did that with a piece of cheese’,” said owner of Lush Charcuterie Thea Peou.
Peou’s entry into the world of Charcuterie began back in February 2020. At the time, she lived in Massachusetts and was experimenting with designing Charcuterie boards as a hobby. She eventually started making gifts out of her creations for family and friends.
“Then people are like, ‘are you selling this? I would love to send this to a friend as a birthday gift’,” said Peou. “I started an Instagram page that kind of blew up and that’s how I got my business. People came to my page, they loved what they saw, and they wanted to either try it or send it to a friend. A lot of it came out of that. People were sending it as gifts.”
Customers soon began asking Peou to curate and design entire grazing tables for parties and social events.
Events like baby showers, weddings, and corporate events were just some of the gatherings Peou has delivered her Charcuterie boards.
Peou decided to bring Lush Charcuterie with her to the Historic Triangle after she relocated to the area for her primary work.
“It’s something that I didn’t want to give up because it’s so much fun,” said Peou. “It’s that hobby where you can kind of make money out of, but you’re still having fun. You don’t wake up and say, ‘Oh I have to make another board.’ It’s very stress relieving and very therapeutic.”
Peou’s currently in the process of moving all her business permits over from Massachusetts to Virginia. At the moment she can’t deliver boards to customers just yet. However, she has been building up the virtual side of her business.
On the Lush Charcuterie Instagram page, she’s started a series called “Board Basics 101” where people can learn the techniques of how to design boards of their own.
“I also teach virtual classes. It could be a company that’s doing a team-building event and they would call me or message me about setting this up virtually. So, I would send them everything that they need to make a board through another cheese company who would supply the cheese, the charcuterie, some of the things that would go on the board,” said Peou. “They would receive the package, and we would sign in on a zoom and go through the class together.”
Peou also has plans for teaming up with local wineries and breweries in the region to offer her classes in person. One class that is coming up will be at 11 a.m. on Nov. 14 at Saudé Creek Vineyards.