10 Best Cheese & Charcuterie Boards in St. Petersburg, FL 2016

Cheese & Charcuterie is Hot!
(Actually, it's cold or room temp.)

Last month our top 10 list was for the 10 Best Steaks in St. Petersburg, FL. This month, we bring you 10 Best Cheese & Charcuterie Boards.

Charcuterie has been around for a long time, and in the last few years it has been increasing in popularity. Wikipedia tells of the Romans trading in salted meats in the first century AD, and of the French forming charcuterie guilds in the 15th century.

The New Times, in November 2015 published, "Charcuterie Attains Full Trend Status in South Florida". In December 2015, The New York Times listed charcuterie as one of the "Food Trends That Shaped 2015".

Two months ago, in September 2016, Bon Appétit wrote about the trend of American-made charcuterie in their piece, "Cured in the U.S.A.: The Time for American-Made Charcuterie is Now". In our own article published here in September, "What’s Hot: 2016 Culinary Forecast", we reported that the rising popularity of cheese and charcuterie boards continues.

Lately, it seems that almost every restaurant has a cheese & charcuterie offering and many of them are quite spectacular. Since there are so many types of cheese and charcuterie meats, the combinations and platings are endless, and the offerings in St. Petersburg have us here at St. Petersburg Foodies feeling quite lucky.

Here are the 10 Best Cheese & Charcuterie boards in St. Pete. This list is based on a poll conducted in our top-secret Facebook Group of 3,000 local foodies, and our own personal experience indulging in these delectable comestibles. St. Petersburg Foodies Editors hand selected #1 & #2, and the rest are based on the readers poll.

(Video by Barry Lively)

1. The Mill Restaurant

The Mill came in first place for a few reasons. They were chosen by our editors as the best because they have great quality fresh ingredients, have the most eclectic selection, one of the largest selections and ... drum roll please ... they are the only place that makes their own charcuterie from scratch in-house, and the only restaurant in St. Pete that includes seafood versions of charcuterie.

In the below photo, starting at the bottom left going clockwise: what looks like a candy bar is actually an extremely tasty Exotic Mushroom Terrine. "It's like a mushroom lasagna". Chef Ted tells us that this one has Shiitake, Chanterelle, Lobster mushroom, King Trumpet, Cremini, and Portobello. The chef told us how it's made. They make a mushroom consomme with stems and all and then float it in a raft and use egg whites to remove the impurities. (As it simmers, the egg white will start coagulating and all the little bits floating around in the stock will be gathered up by the egg white.) The mushrooms are then packed down and the consomme is poured over it and then chilled.

Just above it, in the center is Espresso Venison Pastrami. To the left of that is Duck Bacon. Top left: Mostarda, Honeycomb, Seasonal Marmalade, Caramelized Garlic, Porter Mustard, Lavash bread (a Middle Eastern flat bread) and Bitter Chocolate (hiding behind the sliced baguette top right).

In front of the bread the round light brown item is a Foie Gras Torchon. Between it and the cheese, we have Lamb Belly Bacon. Cheese: Jerk Infused Cheddar (bottom) and Irish white cheddar (top).

The Mill Cheese & Charcuterie Board #1

The Mill Cheese & Charcuterie Board #1

(Photo by Barry Lively)

In the below photo, starting at the bottom left going clockwise: Smoked Salmon, Foie Gras Torchon, Center left: Confit Oysters which are sous vide cooked in duck fat. Top left: Mostarda, Honeycomb, Seasonal Marmalade, Caramel Garlic, Porter Mustard, and Bitter Chocolate. Canadian Gator Bacon is center right. Octopus Bacon to the left of it in the center. Cheeses: French Brie (L) and Red Dragon Mustard seed infused double cheddar.

The Mill Cheese & Charcuterie Board #2

The Mill Cheese & Charcuterie Board #2

(Photo by Barry Lively)

This is a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

Co-Founders, Publishers & Editors of St. Petersburg Foodies Kevin Godbee & Lori Brown

Co-Founders, Publishers & Editors of St. Petersburg Foodies Kevin Godbee & Lori Brown at The Mill Sampling the Cheese & Charcuterie Boards

(Photo by Barry Lively)

The Mill Restaurant
200 Central Ave #100
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 317-3930
http://themilldtsp.com/

The Mill's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

2. Sea Salt St. Pete

Sea Salt St. Pete Cheese & Charcuterie

Sea Salt St. Pete Cheese & Charcuterie

(Photo by Lori Brown)

Sea Salt St. Pete is one of the grand anchor tenants of Sun Dial Shops in the heart of Downtown St. Pete. They are an excellent 5-star gourmet restaurant with the freshest fish (most of it local), largest selection of oysters, and great steaks with several dishes having unique eclectic twists that us foodies love ... but this is about cheese and charcuterie, and Sea Salt really shines there as well.

Everything was extremely fresh and moist with a tiny bit of nice oils sweating on some of the meats. Sea Salt also has one of the largest selections of wines displayed in a  spectacular 22-foot tall wine tower that holds 4,000 bottles of wine. (There are 6,500 wines in inventory.)

The menu describes the Charcuterie platter as, assortment of cured meats, cheeses, olives, fig jam, honey, apricot, dates, walnut torchon. The menu stays general because the selection changes based on which items are available at the moment.

The platter we had consisted of, in order from the bottom of the photo to the top:

Dried apricots, walnut torchon, parmesan cheese, fig jam topped with hazelnuts, speck prosciutto, more parmesan, salame felino, gouda cheese, prosciutto and an assortment of olives.

It was fantastic!

Sea Salt St. Pete
183 2nd Ave N
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 873-7964
http://seasaltstpete.com/

Sea Salt St. Pete's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

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3. Annata Wine Bar

Annata Wine Bar Cheese & Charcuterie

Annata Wine Bar Cheese & Charcuterie

(Photo by Lori Brown)

Annata won the popularity contest coming in first place in our reader poll. They specialize in wines and cheese & charcuterie and do a great job of it. They have great quality imported meats and cheeses. The service is excellent, the atmosphere is chic and they sometimes have live music. We like to go on a Monday night when Gloria West is playing. In addition to the wonderful cheese and charcuterie they also have several cooked small plates.

Annata Wine Bar
300 Beach Dr NE #128
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 851-9582
http://www.annatawine.com/

Annata's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

4. FarmTable Kitchen

FarmTable Kitchen Cheese & Charcuterie

FarmTable Kitchen Cheese & Charcuterie

(Photo by Lori Brown)

FarmTable Kitchen is right next to Sea Salt in the Sundial Shops in DTSP and they are another delectable foodies delight. Lori has a standing Wednesday night happy hour reservation where the food is so good, and the prices so low that you almost feel like you are stealing.

FarmTable's meats and cheese are delightful. In the above photo, the tasty treats include (this time starting on the bottom right:

Drunken Goat Cheese (Spain), Fig mostarda, Sottocenere al tartufo (Italy), Bayonne Ham (France), Soppressata (Italy), Smoked Duck Breast (USA), Taleggio cheese (Italy), Grafton 2-year aged Cheddar (USA), Olives assortment, and house-made baguette.

FarmTable Kitchen
179 2nd Ave N
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 523-6300
http://www.localegourmetmarket.com/farmtable-kitchen/

FarmTable Kitchen's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

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 5. Rococo Steak

Rococo Steak Cheese & Charcuterie Platter

Rococo Steak Cheese & Charcuterie Platter

(Photo by Kevin Quinn, Courtesy of Rococo Steak)

Menu description: Cured Meats & Artisan Cheese - Whole Grain Mustard, Local Honey, Seasonal Pickled Vegetables.

Rococo's cheese and charcuterie changes daily. Pictured above is roquefort bleu cheese, manchego, coppa, speck, local honey with honeycomb, pommery mustard, spicy walnuts, Marcona almonds, baguette toast points, house pickled vegetables (watermelon radish, red onion, cornichons.

Rococo Steak
655 2nd Ave S
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 822-0999
http://rococosteak.com/

Rococo Steak's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

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6. Birch and Vine

Birch & Vine Cheese & Charcuterie

Birch & Vine Cheese & Charcuterie

(Photo courtesy of Birch & Vine)

We are going to give The Birch & Vine 1st place for the prettiest cheese and charcuterie platter. We are not sure, but we think that Rhonda (our favorite manager at The Birchwood), may have had some influence on this being from Wisconsin herself ... and the Forward State is certainly known for their cheeses!

We had this with our friend Louie who co-owns the Nueva Cantina restaurant, and writes a monthly column for St. Petersburg Foodies. We all loved it!

In the photo:

Wisconsin Cheese & La Quercia Charcuterie Plate features Roth Buttermilk Bleu, Cow's Milk, Paired with Sunflower Seed Brittle, Chili Sauce Carr Valley Menage, Cow, Sheep & Goats Milk, Paired with Cantaloupe Mostarda, Candied Almonds Ellsworth Beer Battered Cheese Curds, Cow's Milk, Paired with Apple-Bacon Chutney La Quercia Spicy Proscuitto Spread, Bursellino, Served with Pretzel Muffin Crisps, Truffle Parmesan Crisps.

Birch & Vine
340 Beach Dr NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 896-1080
http://www.thebirchwood.com/birchandvine/

Birch & Vine's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

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7. IL Ritorno

IL Ritorno Cheese & Charcuterie

IL Ritorno Cheese & Charcuterie

(Photo Courtesy of HYPE Group & IL Ritorno)

IL Ritorno is one of our big time favorite restaurants in St. Petersburg. They have the most unique modern twists on classic northern Italian cuisinal delights.

Their charcuterie boards come with your choice of chef's selection of premium cheeses and meats. All boards include chianti mustard, local honey, calabrese chili jam, pickled mustard seeds, and toast.  Selections change based on availability, season and menu. Since it is a BYO (build-your-own) style, guests can have as many or as few selections as they would like. Selections are sliced and cut to order.

(L-R) Barry Lively, Kevin Godbee, & Lori Brown enjoying primis and outdoor seating at IL Ritorno

(L-R) Barry Lively, Kevin Godbee, & Lori Brown enjoying primis and outdoor seating at IL Ritorno

(Photo Courtesy of HYPE Group & IL Ritorno)

IL Ritorno
449 Central Ave #101
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 897-5900
http://www.ilritornodowntown.com/

IL Ritorno's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

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 8. Tryst

Tryst Chicken Pate Underneath the Layer of Fat on Top

Tryst Chicken Liver Pâté Underneath the Layer of Fat on Top is Delicious

(Photo by Barry Lively)

Tryst is currently in the midst of a menu change. Their full cheese & charcuterie board was great, and the new offering is going to be even better as they are going to start making some items in-house. Chef Jon Robben took over about 6-months ago, but he is just now starting to make his mark on the menu. See the new menu items at Tryst here.

Since pâté does fall under the umbrella of charcuterie, we'd like to feature a new item that we tried just the other day that was extremely delicious - the Tryst Chicken Liver Pâté - crostini, pickled red onion, gherkin pickle, tree fruit jam.

Chef Jon tells us: "This is a very simple chicken liver pâté. We take garlic and shallots and sweat them in bacon fat. Add port wine, fresh thyme and parsley. Reduce the port wine until it's almost dry. Add the livers and cook them through. Chill and process with a bunch of butter. Then we put them in ramekins and seal with butter."

Tryst
240 Beach Dr NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 821-4567
http://dinetryst.com/

Tryst's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

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9. Brick & Mortar - Kitchen & Wine Bar

Brick & Mortar's Pork and Chicken Liver Pâté

Brick & Mortar's Pork and Chicken Liver Pâté

(Photo courtesy of Denise Parker. See her food blog here.)

Brick & Mortar, just a block west of IL Ritorno is another one of our favorite small mom & pop eateries that creates spectacular gastronomical fare that no one ever thought of. It's so amazing that it reminds you of the scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where she fakes a quite demonstrable orgasm in the middle of the restaurant. Yep. Their food is that good.

This looks simple and small, but it is amazing. Here is what food blogger Denise Parker said:

"Brick & Mortar's Pork and Chicken Liver Pâté is presented in its own adorable glass jar and served with crostini and seasonal jam, as well as an assortment of house-pickled veggies." - Denise Parker

Brick & Mortar - Kitchen & Wine Bar
539 Central Ave
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 822-6540
https://www.facebook.com/brickandmortarkitchen/

Brick & Mortar's Listing in our Restaurant Guide for St. Petersburg FL

10. Brooklyn South

Brooklyn South Cheese & Charcuterie

Brooklyn South Cheese & Charcuterie

(Photo courtesy of Brooklyn South - Charlie Maki)

Brooklyn South is one of those little hole in the wall hidden gems, and when you go, it's like owner Matt Bonano invited you into his own home. You feel like family and friends there. They have hearty sandwiches and quite a large selection of meats and cheeses for such a small space.

Bonano serves on the judging and competition committee of the American Cheese Society, an industry organization that promotes American cheese production.

"We try to promote the American artisan movement," Bonano says. "Cheese is at the top of the heap." But he says there also is support for a return to small farms and locally grown meats from cattle, hogs, goats and fisheries.

Check out their cheese and charcuterie - it's quite delicious!

Brooklyn South
1437 Central Ave
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
(727) 914-4967
http://brooklynsouthcheese.com/

Tell us which are your favorites in the comments below, and then start visiting the places you haven't been to and tell us what you think of them. Tell them that St. Petersburg Foodies sent you!

10 Best Cheese & Charcuterie Boards in St. Petersburg, FL 2016
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Editor's and reader's picks of the best cheese and charcuterie boards in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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