Image: Kristin Belz
Cheese boards from Brooklyn Slate Company are food-safe and non-toxic. The boards come with soapstone chalk, so you can label your gourmet fromage right on the board.

What’s a perfect gift for foodies? Something strong and sturdy on which to show off the latest gourmet delectables, artisan cheeses and charcuterie. From Brooklyn (the one in New York) comes an answer. Slate quarried in the Empire State is brought to the Borough by the Brooklyn Slate Company. The small company began in 2009 after a couple of Brooklyn artists, Sean Tice and Kristy Hadeka, ventured upstate to visit her family, and returned home to the city with a few stray pieces of slate from the family-owned quarry.

They discovered the non-porous, food-safe slate made a great hot plate for their tea kettle, and coaster for their beers. Since then, the two have made a business out of cleaning and cutting New York State slate into lovely cheese boards and coasters that will please your favorite foodie for years to come. The Hadeka family quarry provides the material, some of it from the "graveyard" of oddly shaped pieces that would otherwise be ground up for road paving.

Image: Kristin Belz
Brooklyn Slate Coasters – a set of four is under $25.

The black matte slate is pleasantly rustic, evoking a sophisticated caveman aesthetic: rough, natural edges but smooth and appealing to the touch.

Coasters and cheese plates are available online at Brooklyn Slate Company or locally at Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. and Williams-Sonoma. (Williams-Sonoma carries the red slate, which is a rusty charcoal color that will please those who dig earth tones.) Prices start at about $24. 

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
2181 NW Nicolai Street
Portland, OR 
(503) 230-7113

Williams-Sonoma
two regional locations:
NW 23rd and Flanders, Portland, OR / (503)946-2300 
Washington Square Mall, Tigard, OR / (503) 684-2784 

Image: Kristin Belz
Coasters come with a cork back to protect table surfaces from the sturdy slate, which is commonly used as roof tiles.