Brooklyn Slate Company is a family affair. Co-owners Sean Tice and Kristy Hedeka decided to start the company in 2009 with a visit upstate, to the third generation slate quarry that was started by Kristy’s grandfather in 1946 and is now run by her father and older brother. Starting with cheese and charcuterie boards made out of repurposed pieces of slate, they now carry many other artisanal gift choices like menu boards and totes. If you like to know exactly where your holiday presents are coming from, starting with the raw material, then you can’t get more localized than this. But even if you’re not part of the slow-food movement, you’ll fall in love with the gorgeous aesthetics and attention to detail in each piece.
1. Round Slate Cheese Board: Working in a quarry is tough work. Pulling the slate from the pit, breaking it apart with cleavers and trimming it down with water saws. Then the pieces have to be sorted to find right thickness for a cheese board, and finally cleaned and treated with a food safe mineral oil to seal it. This 11.5” inch round is a perfect size and shape for holiday hors d’oeuvres, cakes, or pies, and has a great story to tell. It even comes with a soapstone pencil so that guests will always be able to identify their cheese wedges. $44
2. Slate Menu Board & Stand: For those friends who love to throw impromptu dinner parties, a generous gift is this slate menu board. The kit comes with a 7” x 12” slate menu board that can be used horizontally or vertically, a reclaimed wood stand, and a soapstone pencil for writing. It’s perfect for identifying menus, cocktails or ingredients without wasting any paper. Some of the slate is even from the quarry “graveyard” where the pieces are re-purposed from becoming baseball diamonds or road cover. $32
3. Table Setting Placard: Taking your seat at dinner parties should never be awkward, and with these slate seating cards it won’t be. These come in a set of four, beautifully packaged wrapped in twine and with a non-toxic chalk marker for labeling. Give these to your holiday host to class up any seating arrangement. Although they will certainly ensure your repeat invitation, there’s no guarantee you’ll like who you’re sitting next to. (currently on backorder)
4. Plymouth Artisan Collective: Brooklyn Slate has partnered with Plymouth Artisan Cheese, a Vermont based heritage cheese company, to produce a top-of-the-line cheese board. Half pound blocks of Hunter (a sharp raw cows milk), Hot Pepper (with jalapeno and habanero chili peppers), and Smoked (using a hickory smoking technique) will entice any palate. Use the included wooden hand carved cheese knife to spread them on the buttery and salty Windham Wheat Castleton Crackers, and plate them on the black slate board. The hardest part will be not devouring it all before you have a chance to give it away. $62- $78 depending on the selected slate size.
5. American Cheese Tote: This whimsical tote bag is perfect for shopping the farmers markets or for carrying the bounty home from your local cheese shop. It features illustrations of some of Brooklyn Slate’s favorite domestically produced cheeses like Cabot Clothbound, Truffle Tremor, and Humboldt Fog. Give this to your fromage loving friends and co-workers to help them bone up on more unusual curds. $16