CHARCUTERIE – There’s a New Board Game in Town

Photos by Crystal Murray

Instagram influencer Erin Pettipas is bringing the graze craze to Pictou County.
Posting under the punny handle Pastasalt, the millennial foodie is turning her gorgeous charcuterie and cheese board pics into “more than just an Instagram page” through word-of-mouth and lots of “likes.”
Orders for the creations started coming in August when a friend’s birthday was coming up and her boyfriend wanted to celebrate with a special sharing platter.
The Mediterranean-inspired board, piled with homemade roasted red pepper hummus, tzatziki, sundried tomato pesto, charred lemon, and other delectables, was a huge hit with the birthday gathering, as were pictures of the
feast they posted online.

A growing following caught the attention of gourmet grocer Pete’s, which enlisted Pettipas to partner on some promotional pictures for its products.
The unexpected whirlwind left Pettipas with a lot on her plate.
She was in the midst of moving back to Linacy. Things were getting a little stale after four years in Halifax as a server at a friend’s restaurant, where she was making enough money to buy groceries to feed her real passion – “all things home cooking.”
Her new home needed a makeover, including the addition of an all-important kitchen island.

COVID-19 social-distancing dictates are enabling her to start small.
One of her small boards serves between four to eight people and a large from eight to 12. That’s about the size people feel comfortable bubbling in, while they’re also hungry for ways to make social gatherings special.
Once the pandemic passes, Pettipas figures her fledgling business will be geared up enough to add corporate customers and grazing event tables to the menu.
“I like that every board is a bit of a challenge,” she says. “Each one is different. People love the look of them.”
Even kids like the taste, she adds.

Instagram influencer Erin Pettipas
Biggest challenge

Finding a decent baguette east of Halifax, where LF Bakery was a go-to

Early inspiration

Sunday grocery delivery from her mom to St. FX, cable-TV with a steady stream of the Food Network and six roommates to feed

Added boost

A Jamie Oliver food-creation Instagram challenge when she worked summers at Sobeys head office

Her chops

She’s self-taught, but has a food safety certificate and is taking an online Academy
of Cheese course

A family affair

Her dad is helping out with renos to get her kitchen whipped into shape, her grandfather
is building hard-to-come-by large serving boards and her chef aunt is helping make platters for the Christmas rush

The crowd-pleaser

Goat cheese with honey and thyme. “The feedback is amazing,” says Pettipas.

Caution

Picky people, this isn’t for you. She advised a finicky cousin, who asked for no exotic cheeses or fatty meats, to buy a party tray from the grocery store

Confession

Despite her St. FX science degree, Pettipas isn’t a baker. “I like to improvise and throw in
a little of this and a little of that.”

The ultimate

Opening a restaurant with a city feel, small plates for sharing and creative cocktails