Food Workshops and More with Natalie Holland’s Jade Magnolia
Sep 30, 2019 11:00AM
By Kayla Anderson
Sweet and Savory
Story by Kayla Anderson
Photos by Alexandria Smith, and Ellie Koleen
WHIMSICAL, DAINTY and colorful figs, sprigs, blackberries, olives, jams, cheese and maybe even honeycomb are strategically placed on a smooth wooden board, making it look inviting yet too pretty to eat. The creator of the edible work of art is Natalie Holland, founder of the wedding and event planning business
Based in Central California, Holland started hosting cheeseboard and charcuterie workshops in 2015 to teach people how to make their own sweet and savory dishes filled with vibrant colors, flavors and beauty.
Even though Jade Magnolia started as a wedding planning and event business, Holland had been yearning to add a food element to it and created a charcuterie board to show off on Instagram (she also created cheeseboards for her own wedding). In 2016, charcuterie workshops weren’t that common, but are growing much more popular. Currently, Holland hosts food workshops all over California at wineries, people’s residences and places like Revival 23 in Old Town Clovis.
Before launching Jade Magnolia in 2012, Holland worked in the corporate world. But when she became a single mother, Holland wanted to shift gears and do something more creative so she could be around to raise her son. She realized she was good at baking wedding cakes and her new creative business “snowballed into what it is now,” she says. Holland evolved from doing dessert buffets to helping coordinate more of the wedding planning under her former business, Sweet Events.
Holland grew up in Clovis and attended Buchanan High School, where she met her current husband and moved with him to Texas where she continued her wedding planning business. However, she was ready for a name change.
“I wanted something pretty and my sister-in-law’s name is Jade. I also loved the name Magnolia (a city in Texas), so I went with it,” Holland says. Many people assume that her name is Jade and she gets called that a lot, but it doesn’t bother her.
Holland continued doing her thing in Texas when in 2016 her husband was let go from his job and was immediately offered another one from one of his high school friends in California. The couple put their house up for sale and moved back. Holland had been thinking about doing cheeseboard workshops for a while, but felt like everything was so spread out in Texas that it was harder to build up a community. Being back in California allowed her to easily get from one place to the other, and since coming home she’s taught around 700 people how to make their own cheeseboards.
“I love how they look, using seasonal things and bringing everyone together,” Holland says. Besides standing around a kitchen table, sipping on wine and playing with food with newfound friends, half of the fun for Holland is hunting around for new and interesting ingredients. She loves making cheeseboards using goat cheese with a fig spread, lemon curd and jams, and she sources a lot of her produce from Simonian Farms in Fresno. Stone fruit, figs, berries, nectarines and peaches grow especially well in the Valley, allowing Holland to experiment a bit with what she finds.
When school starts in the fall, Holland will shift into autumn flavors and colors and slowly ease into the festive time of year. This is when Jade Magnolia is the busiest as it’s the time when people tend to want to get together and learn something new.
She says that in the beginning of a workshop many people are convinced that they’re not able to do it, and then they’re pleased with what they come up with by the end. Her blog features her favorite cheeseboards, accessories, shopping lists and step-by-step instructions for making cheeseboards at home.
“Everyone has a really good time and right now people are obsessed with cheeseboards. When people post their pictures of cheeseboards to Instagram it makes me happy,” Holland adds. •
Jade Magnolia • www.jademagnolia.com
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