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Upgrade your holiday crudités and hors d’oeuvres with these Michigan culinary arts that are bound to steal the show.

MICHIGAN—It’s been a rough two years, but Michigan catering businesses have adapted things to our advantage.

The shelter-in-place orders in early 2020 may have been a struggle for event planners and caterers. However, many of them shifted their attention to a new, booming trend—charcuterie. Originating in France in the 15th century, charcuterie boards are any assortment of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, and grains, usually on a piece of wood. And the charcuterie board business was just one of several adaptations that emerged during the changing times. 

As gatherings became smaller, the restaurant and catering industries were given the chance to pivot. In addition to the growing charcuterie trend, Michigan legislators legalized cocktails to-go in the summer of 2020, then permitted a higher ABV of 13.5% the following spring. Now, Michiganders can pick up a to-go cocktail from a variety of alcohol distributors to enjoy in new “social districts” or at home. And this adaptation is perfect for holiday parties, too, especially as holiday-themed cocktails start to hit the market.

As you plan your holiday festivities, we’ve assembled a list of 11 of our favorite emerging businesses and old favorites to truly emphasize your entertaining.

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Mongers’ Provisions (Detroit)

4240 Cass Ave, Unit 111, Detroit, MI.

Phone Number: (313) 651-7119

This made-in-Detroit specialty shop is a premier destination for both made-to-order charcuterie boards and all the ingredients to make one yourself. They boast the largest variety of craft chocolate in the state. A variety of meats, cheeses, and other ingredients are available for shipping. If you’re still separated from your desired party guests, Mongers’ hosts virtual tasting events for generally $60 to $100, with tastings shipped nationwide and enjoyed virtually. Also check out their new location in Berkley.

Visit the Mongers’ Provisions website for more information.

Leelanau Cheese (Suttons Bay)

3324 S W Bay Shore Dr, Suttons Bay, MI 49682

Phone Number: (231) 271-2600

Specializing in locally-sourced raclette and fromage blanc, Leelanau Cheese is a Traverse-area creamery. Their products would be perfectly paired with wines from northern Michigan wineries like Leelanau Cellars, Chateau Grand Traverse, or Black Star Farms. For the ideal northern Michigan entertaining package, try Leelanau Cheese’s Grand Traverse special, which includes one pound of their raclette, plus a bag of dried cherries, two bags of chocolate cherries, a jar of cherry preserves, and a jar of honey.

Visit the Leelanau Cheese website for more information.

Zingerman’s (Ann Arbor)

422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104

Phone Number: (734) 663-3354

What started as a delicatessen down the road from University of Michigan has now become a network of businesses selling and shipping gourmet foods. Zingerman’s Creamery offers multiple options for cheese platters, whether you’re hosting a couple relatives or an entire party. If you’re looking for more than just a cheese platter, Zingerman’s also offers catering. If you’re not in the Ann Arbor area, Zingerman’s also ships their famous cheese, bakery items, and meats nationwide.

For more about the Zingerman’s brand, visit their website.

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Aperitivo (Grand Rapids)

435 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone Number: (616) 259-7045

This Grand Rapids mainstay is located in the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. Apertivo is the one-stop shop for charcuterie in the Grand Rapids area. They sell a variety of culinary supplies for entertaining, prepare entertaining platters for groups as small as six, and also provide classes and a knowledge base to help hosts DIY a platter at home. Or you just drop by to enjoy some drinks and snacks.

Visit the Aperitivo website for more information.

Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits (Grand Rapids)

Grand Rapids, MI

This cocktail kit business was created during the COVID-19 pandemic by a sheltering-in-place bartender in Beer City, USA—and with a pedigree like that, it’s got to be good. Cocktail mixes are sold in 16 fl. oz. bottles, enough for about 10 drinks. The mixes combine two flavors that compliment each other. The Peach Rosemary, Strawberry Mint, and Blueberry Lavender mixes use Michigan fruits. But don’t think these mixers are limited to simple cocktails. The recipes page shows how to use these mixers in a variety of recipes, including mocktails, a slushy, and a salad dressing. Watch for the Cranberry Sage cocktail mix coming in December 2021!

Visit the Let’s Stay Home website for more information.

Flourishing Tree Charcuterie (Kalamazoo)

402 S Burdick St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Phone Number: (269) 350-5721

The Flourishing Tree is the catering establishment for The Grazing Table. Newlyweds Joey and Jenna became proficient at charcuterie boards during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they prepare charcuterie boards for a wide variety of gatherings and even host workshops on building and pairing the perfect board. The Flourishing Tree offers boards from as little as $15.

Visit the Flourishing Tree website or Grazing Table website for more information.

Amayesing Graze (Lansing)

Lansing, MI

Phone Number: (517) 212-9074

Danielle Mayes was a pro in the live event and local entertainment industry. She got married and took her new husband’s last name around the same time her career endured a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She decided to start a catering company centered around charcuterie and cheese boards, and use her new last name in the title. Her tasteful boards include artisan cheese, cured meats, fresh produce, and more. Amayesing Graze delivers to residences within 15 miles of the Lansing and Grand Rapids areas.

Monica’s Gourmet Cookies (Grand Rapids)

3668 29th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Phone Number: (616) 977-7200

Christmas means cookies. For those hosts who’d prefer not to haul the cookie cutters out of storage, Monica’s Gourmet Cookies make the perfect addition to any holiday event. Some of her seasonal varieties include gingerbread, iced peppermint, white chocolate peppermint, iced pumpkin, pumpkin chocolate chip, and red velvet. Three holiday mixes are also offered which combine traditional and seasonal offerings. Monica’s cookies can be found in multiple locations, including Westborn Markets and Fresh Thyme Markets. The company also ships nationally.

Visit the Monica’s Gourmet Cookies website for more details.

The Skip (Detroit)

1234 Library St, Detroit, MI 48226

The Skip is a tiki-themed colorful open-air bar at The Belt in downtown Detroit. For the holidays, though, the Sippin’ Santa and other holiday-themed cocktails are king—and yes, you can also take them home. Enjoy The Skip’s many rum-based cocktails, including the Sippin’ Santa, Kris Kringle Kolada, Christmas Eve of Destruction, the Candy Cane Old Fashioned, and The Regifter. Also try the gin-based Yule Log Grog, the vodka-based White Russian Christmas, the tequila-based Azul Navidad, the bourbon-based Mistletoe-to-Toe, or the liqueur-based Rudolph Shoots the Curl. All to-go drinks serve anywhere from two to twelve. Also check out their festive drinkware, especially if you want to serve these cocktails as authentically as possible.

Visit The Skip’s website for more information.

Iris Cocktail Co. (Traverse City)

Traverse City, MI

This small business in the heart of the Cherry Capital features gourmet and locally-sourced cocktail mixes—just add spirits. Cocktails are sold in 8-ounce glass bottles, which makes approximately 14 cocktails. Their Cosmopolitan features Michigan cherries, plus other ingredients like juniper and gentian root. The Margarita comes with Michigan strawberry and rhubarb. And the Old Fashioned features Michigan maple syrup with a variety of spices.

Orders ship Sundays.

Visit the Iris Cocktail Co. website for more information.

Ann Arbor Distilling Company (Ann Arbor)

220 Felch St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone Number: (734) 882-2169

This small Ann Arbor distillery specializes in spirits. For the holidays, Ann Arbor Distilling Company has two special canned cocktails. The Cranberry Cinnamon Sour is a whiskey-based cocktail with cranberry liqueur and a variety of juices. The Tinseltini is a vodka-based cocktail with orange and cranberry liqueurs and multiple juices. For those feeling in a charitable mood for the holidays, a portion of the cocktails’ sales go to local causes. The Cranberry Cinnamon Sour supports Ele’s Place, and the Tinseltini supports the Gutman Art Gallery. Pick up from the Ann Arbor tap room.

Visit the Ann Arbor Distilling Company website for more information.

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