One of the things we’ve missed most during quarantine is collaborating in-person with our favorite experts. Whether we’re styling an event, decorating a room, or sprucing up our wardrobe, two (or three or four!) heads are always better than one, and we’ve had the good fortune to work with many fabulous women whose creativity strengthens our work here at Mrs. Southern Social.
That said, we think it’s time you get to know some of these ladies better. You’ve seen their names repeatedly on our Instagram posts and stories, and we’re thrilled they’ve agreed to share their knowledge as part of a new Expert Q&A series.
First up is Cortney LaCorte, aka Cheese Gal, who designs the most beautiful cheese and charcuterie boards. It’s truly edible art and her work has become a fixture at Mrs. Southern Social events (see our Cookie Swap Party, Fall Cocktail Hour, and New Year’s Eve Soiree). Read on for fabulous insight into the best resources for charcuterie, building a prettier cheese board, and how to embrace the flavors of summer. Thank you, Cortney!
What are your favorite resources for cheese and charcuterie? Are there some small businesses and/or local dairies and butchers we should know about?
Anytime that I can shop small or local, I definitely do that. When possible, buy directly from dairy farms/cheesemakers! And so many have had to pivot (word of the hour) their business models – often you can now order from them online and have the cheese shipped to your front door. Some of my favorite Tennessee cheesemakers are Sequatchie Cove Creamery and Noble Springs Dairy, and they both offer online ordering!!
We’re heading into summer – what cheeses and meats are particularly suited to this time of year?
Oooooh, one of my FAVORITE cheese + charcuterie summer combos is a slice of Peach Truck peaches stuffed with fresh chèvre (goat cheese) and wrapped with prosciutto, drizzled with a little bit of honey. Serve with a big glass of sauvignon blanc or rosé. Heaven.
We’re all looking for new ways to entertain our kids. Do you involve your daughter in creating cheese and charcuterie boards? What parts are her favorite?
Yes, I do! She loves making “cheethe boardths” J. It’s a creative and fun way to get her to eat fruits and veggies. She loves any kind of dip!
Is there anything you’ve included on a board that you regretted? Or, something unexpected that you wish more people would play with?
For a hot minute I was wrapping asparagus with prosciutto and putting it on boards. While it looks pretty, it’s not necessarily super delicious to eat raw asparagus, ha.
Your boards are so beautifully designed in terms of color, shape, and texture. What are your tips for achieving that balance?
Thank you so much! I really have a great time doing what I do. One of the best ways to achieve that balance is to think symmetrically. If I’m adding a pop of color on one end of the board, I need to do it on the other. I design each board by thinking of a few different things: flavor, texture, color, and elevation. When making one, ask yourself, “what can I add or do to elevate this cheese plate?”
What should we always have in our pantry/fridge to quickly create a chic board?
You really just need a few things: 1-2 cheeses, crackers, fruit, and an herb to garnish. The garnishing is truly what takes it all up a notch. Throw some fresh rosemary on your brie, and it instantly elevates the plate.
What is your dream collaboration? Bee Seasonal Honey x Nashville Cheese Gal was such a success!
A Crate & Barrel Cheese Gal line would actually make all of my dreams come true…
Your Quarantine Cuisine Instagram is great inspiration. Do you see yourself branching into the world of cooking beyond the recipes you share for cheese board accoutrements?
QC has been so much fun. I’ve had a love for entertaining/hosting since I was a little girl, which is how Cheese Gal started, actually. So naturally, starting a “sister” account to NCG consisting of easy, delicious recipes for people to recreate was a no brainer! It all sort of ties together under the “hosting” umbrella. With all of us being home the last few months, I found some extra time. My husband is actually quite the chef, too! So glad he finally let me make us an Instagram to show what we’re cooking J.
We jealously followed your trip through France earlier this year. When we’re able to travel again, what is the next “food” destination you dream of visiting?
Oh my gosh, my trip to Paris feels like IONS ago! What a week that was. When it’s safe, we are absolutely heading to Italy. I’d love to eat and drink my way through Tuscany.
If you were a cheese, which one would you be?
I would have to say…a triple crème brie. For no other reason than I’m obsessed with it and think it’s one of the most delicious and versatile cheeses on Earth!
* Photography By: Anna Rebecca Photography and Evin Erwin Photography