Brooklyn woman launches booming artisanal charcuterie box business amid COVID-19 pandemic

Photos courtesy of Cheese & Things

A Brooklyn woman is brightening up the COVID-19 pandemic with her charcuterie boxes.

Tiffany France was always tasked to make charcuterie boards for family gatherings. As a cheese lover, she fell into that role seamlessly and loved doing it.

“My brother is a trained chef, so making the charcuterie board is all he’d let me do,” France recalled. “I come from a huge Jamaican family, and whenever we got together it was my job to do the charcuterie board.”

When COVID-19 made its way to New York, France, who works as a human resources director, felt the effects of the shutdowns that came with it. She, like many New Yorkers, found herself with an abundance of time that she wanted to fill.

As someone who has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, France has always had a business going on the side. For France, who had previously dabbled in businesses creating children’s sweaters and edible play-doh, having this time at home was drawing her in to start a new business.

“I wasn’t doing the usual things, like bringing my kids to school — it was like all this time was dumped on me and I was wondering how I could use it,” said France. “In the beginning, we didn’t know how long we’d be in this pandemic for, how are we going to use this time? Are we going to get in shape, or develop a new hobby? I was watching TV one night and it came to me: ‘You should do your charcuterie boards.’”

And with that thought, France’s new business Cheese & Things was born. Based in Brooklyn, the Black-owned and operated business curates artisanal charcuterie boxes in various sizes.

France says that she wanted to create something that would be accessible to New Yorkers who were feeling comfortable to go out to parks for picnics amid the pandemic.

“What really sparked for me was that it went from a board to a box,” said France. “It gave those who felt comfortable going out to a park or something outdoors and have their own individual box of food. It added a layer of COVID-19 safety.”

Those who wish to order their own box can visit Cheese & Things’ Instagram page, where there is an order form to fill out. Once you fill out your order, France will respond and arrange a pickup time or delivery for you, as well as payment. Cheese & Things will deliver within the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and 30 miles into New Jersey, or you can pick up your box in Brooklyn.

France says that the response to Cheese & Things has been incredible and business is slowly growing.

“It has been overwhelming. I went from doing it just for family to building a full business,” said France. “We went from doing 20 boxes a week to 60 boxes a week over the space of three months. We did a Thanksgiving box for people to pick up or have delivered and it completely sold out. The response has been mind-blowing.”

France says that she is also developing a special box for the holidays, which is expected to be released on Instagram later this week.

France hopes that one day Cheese & Things can grow to be a household name in charcuterie, and as a woman-owned business, France hopes that she can help build the momentum in the charcuterie space.

“Ultimately I want it to become the Edible Arrangements for charcuterie,” said France. “If you want something as a gift, want something for yourself, or if you’re planning a party and want a catering option — I want to be a one-stop shop for your charcuterie needs. Ideally, someday we’ll have a brick-and-mortar store too.”

For more information or to order, visit the Cheese & Things Instagram page @cheeseandthingsbox.

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