Laura The Butcher brings tasty charcuterie platters to Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Laura Posiak’s culinary journey has taken her around the world, and now, she’s hoping her customers in Steamboat Springs, her new hometown, will embrace her business and share her love for European food.
“I’ve lived in Steamboat for about a year now, and this is where I wanted to start my first business in the culinary world,” Posiak said of her business, Laura The Butcher. “This is my first season featuring the business, which specializes in artisanal charcuterie platters. It’s a niche of mine, and I do different platters and different sizes for all kinds of parties.”
A charcuterie platter consists of a variety of meats and cheeses. Posiak said her platters are sophisticated and feature imported European flavors with products coming from Spain, Italy and France. She also offers a perfectly ripened assortment of imported and domestic cow, goat and sheep’s milk cheeses that are served with an array of artisanal fruits, crackers and dark chocolates.
“Steamboat has a huge wonderful culinary scene already,” Posiak said. “I found that this could be a way that I could add value to the town with my own little spin on things.”
Posiak was raised in a small town in rural Ontario and eventually moved to the metropolitan New York area. She received a degree in culinary arts and service management from Paul Smith’s College in New York. After college, she moved west where she worked in and managed several top restaurants in the San Francisco area.
One of the jobs required her to make early morning visits to the local farmers markets where she fell in love with farm-to-table cuisine.
Because of that experience, she left the kitchen to broaden her knowledge of food through farming. She worked at organic farms in California and New England, where she learned about the significance of small-scale farming. She also worked at farms in Europe and the South Pacific, where she gained experience with different, more diverse food cultures.
Her journey took her to Parma, Italy, where she spent time working alongside the town butcher learning traditional methods of animal preparation, harvesting, nose-to-tail butchery skills and the traditional Italian art of curing meat. She returned to the U.S., where she continued to refine her skills by working in local butcher shops as well as processing animals for small private farmers. She also designed a curriculum and taught at a culinary school in Maine.
“Every platter of mine has something that excites me as a butcher and a charcuterie maker,” Posiak said. “It’s for people that want to get excited about flavors that they might not have had before. That’s why I import these really, really awesome meats and cheeses that you can’t necessarily find at the grocery store.”
She then presents them on platters.
- A nutty jamon — dry cured ham from Spain
- A 12-month Manchego — a Spanish cheese
- A slice of membrillo — quince paste
“It’s a flavor bomb that I love introducing people to,” Posiak said.
“It’s like how you order flowers for somebody. You just plug in a date and a time, then it’s delivered right to your door,” Posiak said. “These platters already come prepared with beautifully sliced meats, cheeses, all the accouterments.”
Posiak also offers “grazing tables” that include a bounty of artfully displayed cured meats, cheeses and vegetables complete with an elegant tablecloth, vintage dishes, plates and utensils set up for gatherings or events. She has teamed up with Caroline Jordan at Linden Co. Floristry on this portion of her business.
In addition, Posiak wants to start teaching the community about meat, butchery, proper sourcing and cooking through her online Meatskool. She also will be teaching five classes at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs in the spring.
Posiak moved to Steamboat a little over a year ago with her wife, Ashlyn Posiak. Ashlyn is a photographer and director of the Jace Romick Gallery.
“My goal is to continue to integrate myself in the community as a meat educator,” Posiak said. “Eventually, I want to start working with some youth in the community. Right now, I’m currently talking to the Boys & Girls Club about potentially doing some programs for them.”
Either way, she is grateful for the way the community has embraced what she is doing.
“The energy in this town has been absolutely incredible,” Posiak said. “I thought it was going to take me at least three years to get acclimated and comfortable enough to jump in here, but the community, the energy and the feedback has been phenomenal and has just made me so excited about it.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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