Two Charcuterie Newcomers in Dallas Reimagine the Cured Meat Board
You could say we need more and more sausages. And new types of images are welcome in the sausage area. Two newcomers, La Tablera and ChảCutie, crouched together this year and started making take-away, pick-up and delivery boards. They make sausage boxes in which the sweetness can take the form of kakis or jujubes. The taste is expressed in pate with a star anise flavor.
The boxes hold more than bites; They are windows into a culture. Bring them home and they are reminiscent of powerful forms of collecting and socializing, even if we enjoy them alone in our bubbles. Charcuterie boards are based on the idea of something to take home and indulge in, but for both La Tablera and ChảCutie, it’s also a way to share culture at the same time.
Quoc Bao Bakery, Violet Huynh and Gavin Seto, who are based at the Vietnamese bakery and sandwich shop Garland, teamed up earlier this year to launch Chả Cutie, their current online business riffing at the crossroads of Vietnamese cold cuts and sausage boards in French style. (Huynh’s mother owns Quoc Bao, hence the sausage command post there.)
Chả Cutie with his portmanteau made of “chả” (“chả lua” refers to a steamed, sliced, sliced pork sausage or a ham that is ubiquitous) and “cutie” (a sweet reduction for the sausage boards) push us away Take the west as a starting point. According to Huynh, the idea was to deliver the flavors she grew up with in an approachable way – charcuterie seen through the lens of Asian ingredients and flavors.
And so could deliver a box of dried mango hidden next to a mixed cheese ball rolled in black sesame seeds and overflowing with honey sesame sticks and jujubes in a playground. Instead of Italian or French charcuterie, it could be sprinkled with a swirl of truffle pie, fresh baguette, and spreads and slices of the homemade Chả – soft, smooth like mortadella or Bologna – with a dash of fuchsia rim, black, and white-speckled dragon fruit .
The couple had long wanted to start a joint venture, and the pandemic played both an incubator and a catalyst. (The duo, Huynh, a student at SMU, and Seto, a graduate of UNT, have a combined background in economics, finance, and business administration.) They had considered the idea of a cheesecake shop or even a dessert shop with salted eggs. “When it came down to it,” says Huynh, they felt that they narrowed them down to one thing, despite experimenting on that trail. As soon as they came up with the idea of the sausage products, “we felt our creativity wear off,” says Huynh. “Our hearts,” she continues, jumped at the thought of “something we can make both savory and sweet.”
For the sweetness, find homemade jams – initially persimmon and then maybe mango, Asian pear, or dragon fruit if it’s in season. A rich Vietnamese coffee spread made from sweetened condensed milk and cream, reduced and mixed with spices, is rich in deep taste. “We want people to eat it with bread and say,” That tastes like Vietnamese coffee! “Says Huynh. Vietnamese coffee is also represented in chocolate truffles:” We feel like we don’t have it when it comes to Vietnamese coffee, “says Huynh, remembering the drink her mother drinks every morning.
Growing up in the middle of Bánh Mì, the idea of cold cuts was neither new to Huynh nor the aroma of the bakery. The idea of turning them into boxes of their own followed.
“We want people to eat [the coffee spread] with bread and say: “That tastes like Vietnamese coffee!”
For the first outing, they debut two iterations. A Bánh Mì flight includes a selection of pies: a truffle version or a pate with Vietnamese-like spices such as star anise. The traditional butter spread – thick, eggy, like a cross between mayonnaise and whipped butter – will complement the others. (The butter and baguette recipes are from Huynh’s mother; everything else was made up by herself.) The concept is a snack box in which you distribute your own tasting flight of Bánh Mì on fresh, fragile, crispy baguette.
Like a smorgasbord made from various snacks, another box will be Vietnamese-Euro-American inspired. Their Vietnamese-inspired cheese ball uses goat cheese as a base and strings in chili, garlic, ginger – flavors Huynh grew up with – with a soup made from truffle oil. It also contains delicious additional nibbles like shrimp chips, spiced cashew nuts, honey-sesame crackers and fruits like jujubes or the squat Fuyu kakis found in jams and spreads. (Huynh had a persimmon tree in her back yard when she was growing up.)
As a child she said, “I had an aversion to my culture. I was very embarrassed, ”she says about the financial situation and her family’s seal of approval. “I thought people would judge me.” Later, “my family didn’t have a lot of money,” says Huynh, but her mother encouraged her to travel, which she also did, to visit France and other European countries where she experienced various forms of sausage products.
Now we come full circle. Her business is embedded in her culture, which she embraces with all her heart. She works with her mother, who was initially appalled by a price she failed to recognize and was desperate to support her daughter as she wooed a new demographic of pop-ups with a different clientele. The making and baking of the pop-up takes place at Quoc Bao, which acts as the headquarters for weekly or bi-weekly boards.
The aim is to start the first popup in mid to late December. (They work on videos with how-tos and the website.) But the box? “We pretty much did it,” says Seto.
The next step will be to design a box that also reflects Seto’s Chinese heritage. (Think green onion pancake chips instead of baguette or crackers.)
“This business in an extension of who I and Gavin are,” says Huynh. It’s “me and his baby, pretty much”.
Ainsley Lopez’s La Tablera boards vary, but always with meat, cheese, fruit and nuts.
The boards Sausage slices that are swirled around dried apricots or olives and describe a curved curve around ham rosettes. They put brie, whole or sliced, amid pistachios and jewel-like drops of raspberries or ruby-red pomegranate seeds, possibly filled with the prickly pinnacles of halved grapefruit. Aisley Lopez is responsible for these swirling geometries which are stunning in their presentation and will leave you neatly packing your heart in a box.
Lopez started on November 2, the eve of Election Day. La Tablera is their online to-go box store, small to large, including a brunch board of smoked salmon and cream cheese. She is not afraid to report herself as a Latin American charcutería (even the white box that is tied with a vegan leather strip, which she regards as “Spanish” in its aesthetics).
“Where do you start?” is the question she asks when preparing a 12-foot wicker table for a wedding, for example. And then you go from there.
Lopez, whose parents are naturalized citizens of Sinaloa, Mexico (she was born in Graham, Texas), says, “It’s important to remember where you came from. Without them, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow up here in a more privileged way and to follow my dreams. “Her dreams are to make and sell what brings joy as she works to empower women, immigrants and minorities.
Her memories revolve around rich joint dining occasions: “Everywhere we go, a whole series of families come together, eat food, make food.”
For them, a sausage board represents this social element powerfully, even if they are now consumed alone or in small groups in bubbles by friends or family members who meet outside on verandas or in backyards under light. “Everyone loves them. For some, it’s almost like self-care, ”she says. It’s an experience. “Maybe you have a glass of wine. Maybe you’ve had a long day and you take a bath and have your sausage board. Maybe you have a date with your partner. “It’s a form of self-sufficiency in these times when we long for togetherness and a sense of specialty. “You don’t have a special occasion,” she says. “You can use your board for special occasions. You do not have to wait. “
Lopez respects the power of food and its ability to unite. “As part of Mexican culture, I realized that what I love most about gatherings is how food brings people together.” She realized that she longed for it. But she also wants to give something back.
As a full-time student, Lopez is studying Spanish hoping to graduate in speech therapy, especially with immigrant children. She believes in the matter. “I took ESL courses,” she says. “I remember getting very frustrated not being able to communicate. I want to help people the way I was helped. “
Ideally, she envisions giving discounts to charities and small businesses in the future, knowing that her merchandise can draw crowds for an opening or event.
“As a minority woman” she would like to highlight and support other women who face similar obstacles. For example, check out their future female Instagram acquisitions where they can use their skills for a stronger, more sustainable community. “Women are better together!” says Lopez.
In the end: “Be true to yourself,” she says. And trust that you will end up “exactly where you need to be”.