White Bear Lake local Samantha Bonnett embarks on a charcuterie-making venture.
Local businesses owner Samantha Bonnett readily admits that she’s still fairly new to the charcuterie scene. “I didn’t really have too much experience with charcuterie before I got the idea of starting my business,” Bonnett says. In fact, it was around this time last year when she created her very first charcuterie board.
“I just really liked doing a lot of appetizers and entertaining-type things for my family,” Bonnett says. So, although she isn’t sure how she initially got the idea in her head, Bonnett decided to dabble in a festive meat and cheese board right before the holidays in November 2020, and her first charcuterie board was a smashing success.
The next day, Bonnett was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post by someone, who had ordered a charcuterie box in another state. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, people really do this,’” she says. “Something kind of clicked, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m doing this.’ I started my business that way.”
Fig&Bleu specializes in custom charcuterie box creations, from picnic boxes for two to boards sized for entertaining a crowd, and everything in between. From first-timers to foodies, Bonnett says she has been making boards and boxes for all types of customers and learning a lot along the way.
“I like to be creative in general,” Bonnett says. Oftentimes, she’s found social media to be a great source for artistic inspiration, and that turned out to be the case for charcuterie, too. “There’s a big community of charcuterie businesses where I got a lot of ideas from,” she says.
Client customizations have also been a big source of inspiration, with Bonnett getting the opportunity to explore new combinations and try different things. “I have a set menu [of] pretty much just classic staples for every charcuterie board,” she says. But she also accommodates customer preferences and special requests.
“No two boards are ever the same,” Bonnett says, explaining that seasonality and her own whimsy often come into play when creating a charcuterie box or board. “Somebody might order this week from me and get a cheddar, a brie and a manchego or something, and next week I’ll just be like, ‘No I don’t feel like that. I want to do this, this and this.’”
Along with seasonal fruits, Bonnett says that, as a small business, she likes to support other small producers when sourcing board accouterments, like honey and jams. “Farmers markets and social media [have] been huge for that too, for finding people near me,” she says. “And small grocery stores that feature local companies, that’s another way that I’ve found [small business sources].”
For the holidays, Bonnett says she expects to offer holiday-themed boards, with styles like candy cane shapes and wreaths. She also aims to offer a few seasonal specialties that feature her favorite combination of sweet and savory. “On my boards, I like to do sugared or sweetened nuts,” Bonnett says. Last year, she also included sugared cranberries as a fun, festive touch.
To see some of Bonnett’s latest creations or learn more about the ordering process, you can follow her on Instagram @figandbleu.