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Graze Craze offers nibbling, noshing options for holidays and beyond

After a hefty Thanksgiving dinner — and a day or two of leftovers — you may feel ready to nibble instead of doing any more cooking. A new local dining option is turning the charcuterie board trend into a flexible way to snack, dine, feast and entertain, especially throughout the holiday season.

At Graze Craze Charcuterie Boards & Boxes, which recently opened at 400 Preston Ave., Suite 125, custom combinations of meats, cheeses, fruits, gourmet chocolates and other choices can suit a variety of appetites, needs and schedules.

Owner Sile Allen and her husband, Jim Allen, curate charcuterie boards designed for game-day tailgating, holiday party munching and serving brunch with a twist.

There’s a keto-friendly option. Vegetarians and vegans can avoid meats and cheeses. Specialty boxes provide collections of breads, crackers or pickles, pickled vegetables and olives. And if you aren’t feeding a family or a crowd, look for a Grab and Graze small meal for yourself and an already popular Char-Cutie-Cup for snacking on the go, to satisfy “hunger and curiosity,” Sile Allen said.

Sile Allen said the flexible feasts give hosts the power to accommodate guests with different tastes, diet plans and allergies.

“You can invite someone over for dinner and you have shrimp, and — oh, no, someone’s allergic to shrimp,” Sile Allen said. “This [option] is good especially around the holidays, when you may be having somebody drop in that you haven’t met yet.”

The concept seems to be a comfortable fit with local lifestyles so far.

“It’s a nice place, with the University [of Virginia] and all the wineries here,” Jim Allen said. “There’s a really good market for and interest in what we do.”

The boards and boxes can be a portable, fuss-free alfresco option for visiting wineries or other outdoor venues that allow picnicking.

“If they say, ‘I want to go to one of the wineries and take lunch with me,’ they can do it,” Sile Allen said.

Part of the fun is in combining different flavors, textures and indulgent extras.

‘“Graze Craze is a concept that’s focused on fresh ingredients, fresh jams, fresh sauces and the like,” Jim Allen said. “The combinations are tried and tested. The chocolate that we have is made by the Chickasaw Nation. They do it specifically for us. I’m a lifelong chocoholic, and I don’t think I’ve ever had chocolate this good.”

He said the feedback from his father, an “incredibly picky eater,” felt validating.

“If I made shepherd’s pie, he’d eat two bites,” Jim Allen said. “When he got the charcuterie board, he went back for thirds.”

Graze Craze is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Learn more online at grazecraze.com, or call (434) 227-5335.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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