Chakaturie by Dina

We met Dina last summer when I was working for the Green Grocer and Robin was navigating the first few months at the Boutique before it moved to 9 N. Wisconsin Street in Elkhorn. Dina has an energy about her the second you meet her and I couldn’t help just loving her and her Peruvian accent. She had just started her business, Chakaturie by Dina and shops local for most of the treasures she puts in her chakaturie boxes. Over the summer, after The Boutique Closet moved into its permanent location Dina stopped by to bring one of her signature boxes full of sweet and savory treats and we were in love. When we decided to do a cooking show we knew once we felt more comfortable we wanted her to come in and show us how to make one. And finally the night arrived Friday March 12th!

In the late afternoon I got a delivery at Lovey’ from KT Rush Floral with gorgeous tulips and roses in the most springy of spring hues. It was from Dina and our friend Lisa who owns Charisma salon downtown Elkhorn. Lisa and Dina are good friends and shopping companions and we have spent many a Friday night having a glass of wine (or 2) after work in our little Covid bubble. They are our fellow women owned business warriors and we have been so blessed with their friendship this past year. 

At 7:00 pm we went live with our In The Kitchen with Amy on Facebook. We started by introducing our good friends Dina and Lisa and then I had Lisa shake up some Bloody Mary’s from the new Hella Bitters Bloody Mary Cocktail Mix. The Bloody Mary mix has fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, Worcestershire, molasses, onions, anchovies, garlic, tamarind extract, chili peppers and lemon juice. And by the way, it is spectacular! In true Wisconsin fashion, I topped them off with a Leinenkugels beer. 

Also, in true foodie fashion, I have always been a big snacker and have been putting out cheese and cracker trays with a bit of fruit for my guests as long as I can remember. When charcuterie boards started trending, I had the basics down but needed help assembling. Along came Dina and viola’... perfection was about to be achieved! 

Lovey’s has some great ingredients for anyone that likes to snack and all I had to do was prep a list of some of our fabulous dips. I chose our Boursin Cheese Dip, which we find exactly comparable to the store bought version. Of course, I took this a step further and used a vegetable cream cheese from the deli of Gooseberries Fresh Food Market. We like to support Gooseberries - since May of 2020 they have required all workers and patrons to wear a mask - and we appreciate them taking our safety and the safety of the people in our community first above their profit line. I also opened a jar of our Bacon Jam, some marinated artichokes, and two types of crackers (one gluten free sold at Lovey's for everyone to enjoy at a party), and Sriracha Salt. The intention was to use the salt in our Bloody Mary’s, but they didn’t need any additional flavor. Dina had another idea, which really topped off the completed board. More to come on that! We purchased meat sticks at Wilson’s Farm Meats. If you have never been to your local butcher shop, you really should!  You will get the freshest cuts of meat, and many other local goodies!  And because every board needs something sweet, we used South Bend Chocolate Company Bridge Mix and Salty Dark Pretzels . Dina approved of our mix of salty and sweet! 

At this point, Dina took over… she instructed Lisa and I to cut our cheese and sausage in bite sized pieces. She began the board by placing crackers on the board. Her advice? Always make the board appear full. Lisa really enjoyed the aspect of layering because Charcuterie By Dina boards always hold some sort of “surprise”. She followed the cracker arrangement with placing cheeses around the board. She suggested a soft cheese (we chose the Boursin), and a few hard cheeses. Something unassuming such as Swiss cheese is good because it enhances the honey and jams/jellies around the board. Cheeses cut into different shapes also makes the board look very creative in presentation. Colors also make the visual aspect of the board very appealing! We added strawberries, pistachio nuts, cherry tomatoes and some dried mangoes. To really add that extra touch, take any small jars or dishes you have in your cupboard and use for your accoutrements. The finishing touches were: Sriacha Salt sprinkled on our Swiss Cheese, fresh rosemary, flower clippings, and Dina’s favorite candy, Rolos! 

There are no rules for making a charcuterie board! Use your preference in meats, cheeses, fruits and sweets and make it yours! Cheers! 

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