Badrunnessa Reza Bhuiyan, who also goes by Ronaita, is a cheese lover. One day as she was scrolling through Instagram when she encountered the account of a Qatari woman who was streaming herself decorating a cheese platter.
"I became intrigued to look through her Instagram account when I realised how artfully she had organised the entire grazing board. I was stunned to discover that she operates a charcuterie business," said Ronaita.
This gave Ronaita the idea to start arranging her own cheese boards and serving them during parties at home. When asked where her love for charcuterie comes from? Ronaita pointed to her parents.
Her parents enjoy Desi Paneer and it was a regular accompaniment to their morning or evening cup of tea. Paneer and Bakr Khani was her father's favourite snack. "My family is actually where my passion for cheese and charcuterie began."
She would experiment with different cheeses, spreads and crackers when hosting parties, and would ask for feedback on what combinations tasted well together. Eventually she perfected her knack for understanding what to put together in order to give the best experiences to her guests.
The response she received from her family and friends gave her the encouragement she needed to work towards establishing her own charcuterie business.
In December 2020, Ronaita launched Charcu- Deli's Instagram and Facebook account. "I am a homemaker, but I have always wished to start up a business of my own and have been fortunate enough to actualise my passion project in Charcu Deli."
Ronaita's husband, Saifur Rahman Bhuiyan was the main investor who encouraged her decision to launch her dream business, and he was the one who came up with the name "Charcu Deli''.
Charcuterie is a phrase that dates back to the 15th century in France. Although the word has been broadened to include a dish enjoyed in many countries.
Known as a ploughman's lunch in the United Kingdom, antipasto in Italy, and the modest meat-and-cheese plate to many North Americans, charcuterie may now be found in a variety of forms and is served everywhere from pubs to high-end restaurants, and thanks to Charcu Deli, right here in our very own Dhaka city.
A modest menu is available at Charcu Deli. They include three charcuterie boards – The Cozy, The Ice Breaker and Littles. They also accept custom orders that are economical.
The Ice-Breaker comes in a rather beautiful, one-time platter that has a hand-woven basket print. The spread contains three cheeses – Emmental, Cheddar and Mozzarella. The meats include florets of Beef Paprika Bologna and stacks of Smoked Chicken Salami. Condiments like gherkin pickles, cucumbers, olives are piled in a curated disarray.
Both dry fruits, like apricot, and fresh fruits like juicy, plump red grapes feature on the board – these go exceptionally well when paired with a slice of salty sharp Emmental. My sister invented the cracker sandwich – copious slices of the creamy mozzarella or salty cheddar paired with the deli meats stuffed between two crackers with a schmear of hummus, and a pickle or olive to chase it with.
The hummus from Charcu Deli has to be the best I have tasted so far. The smell of the tahini (sesame paste) in the hummus floats up at you as soon as you uncap the container. The velvety texture is indulgent and full on the tongue. Try it with the soft, slightly chewy pita bread, and pair it with one of the meats and a slice of tangy gherkin for a delectable symphony of flavours
The board also comes with dark and white chocolate and three types of crackers.
The wonderful aspect about a charcuterie board is that there is no one way to consume it. You can taste or pair the items however you please. "You can taste all the items so that you can find out what you like because looks and smells can be deceiving."
4/5 servings, ranges from Tk 2,500 to Tk 2,800
The Cozy is the smaller sized board available on Charcu Deli's menu. It comes with cheese and one meat option with other accompaniments.
"My recommendation if someone wants to try charcuterie for the first time is to start with The Cosy small platter. Because it is budget - friendly, you will have a quality charcuterie experience."
Serves 2/3, prices range from Tk 1,300 to Tk 1,500
Littles is a charcuterie option for little foodies – the kids.
It has one cheese and one meat option with other accompaniments which also includes some finger foods like mini sandwiches or burgers.
Ronaita makes an effort to keep everything halal. "I typically purchase all the charcuterie from the local superstores."
She receives fresh imported cheese from supermarkets and fresh halal-certified meats from neighbourhood delis. When it comes to baked items, she alternates between ordering from high end bakeries and neighbourhood bakeries.
At the moment Charcu Deli is a small one person operation. Upon expansion, Charcu Deli hopes to provide catering services with canapés and other spreads.
Serves 5/6 children, costs Tk2,000 to Tk2,200