We eat with our eyes.
Or, at least, that’s the mantra guiding Meggie Sullivan. For her, the enjoyment of food can be as much about taste buds as retinas. Everything, as a result, ought to be as beautiful as it is tasty.
“I’m known to even garnish my dinner plates,” she confesses. She grew up with a mother and aunt who took entertaining and food presentation to the next level. Young Meggie observed, nurturing a practice that would eventually become a business.
In the fall of 2019, she opened Queen Brie. “I was lacking a creative outlet after having my girls and moving to Charlotte,” explains Sullivan. To scratch her creative itch, she began assembling elegant charcuterie boards for friends and family. They were a hit. So much so that requests for boards started to flood in. Sullivan soon filed the necessary paperwork and turned her passion into her profession.
A Business for the Social Age
Queen Brie interfaces with customers largely via social media, where Sullivan takes requests for boards. You can customize based on how many people you need to feed and what the occasion entails, from small dinner parties to large events. Each creation is a breathtaking, asymmetrical combination of color and texture. Layers of gourmet cheese anchor thinly sliced meats that are folded into undulating ripples. Grapes, brightly hued berries, and other fruits provide splashes of deep color and bursts of juicy flavor. Seasonal garnishes like edible flowers in the summer and sage or rosemary in the winter tie each board together.
Sullivan sources her ingredients from a variety of places, such as local cheese shops, the fromagers themselves, or sometimes the nearest Whole Foods. She begins each shopping excursion with a focus on produce, then draws her inspiration from what’s available and eye-catching.
Seasonal and Flexible
Sullivan spotlights different taste pairings depending on the season. For example, in the summer, she often prioritizes lighter, fresher tastes like burrata, fresh chevre, honey or tomato jam, and stone fruits like peaches. In the fall, persimmons and apples take center stage, as well as the smokier flavors of aged cheeses like mimolette. Sullivan is constantly experimenting with different flavor profiles and pairings to find novel ways to create perfect bites.
Queen Brie’s offerings also include classes for cheese lovers, board beginners, and everyone in between. Charcuterie novices can register for Sullivan’s board basics classes, which lay down a few ground rules for curating and designing charcuterie boards. The more adventurous students may find delight in her other classes, during which they may learn to create a salami rose or elevate their baked brie offerings. It’s a perfect date night activity or opportunity to learn how to take hosting to the next level.
After a long day, whether it’s spent teaching classes, assembling boards, putting her speech pathologist license to work at her day job, or shepherding her two young daughters, Sullivan looks forward to one particular meal, which she is uniquely equipped to provide: “For me, a glass of wine and a board is my ideal dinner.”