At the heart of Gourmage lies a desire to help customers make memories through food and wine, said owner Stephanie Richardson.
Richardson purchased the fledgling business in November 2010 after her marketing career ended as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. After working with clients in the food industry, she knew she wanted her next venture to incorporate her love of cooking and curating experiences for customers.
“I have a love of food, both personally and professionally,” Richardson said. “When this business became available, I thought, 'Well, this is almost custom made for me.’”
The business was originally a joint restaurant that served breakfast and lunch, as well as a gourmet goods shop, Richardson said.
After taking over ownership Richardson noticed that as more restaurants opened in downtown New Braunfels, the city was lacking a place where customers could purchase high-quality, unique food items.
In 2012 Richardson stopped serving breakfast and ended lunch service in 2017 to focus on curating the store’s offerings of cheese, wine and chocolate for customers to enjoy at home or in the store.
“When we stopped serving food, that freed us up to really focus a little bit more on the things that we do best,” Richardson said.
Before the coronavirus pandemic began, Richardson had been working to expand tasting events and cooking classes. It was at those events that customers learned to make cheese and understand the vast differences in wine varietals.
When the pandemic began, experiences like happy hour and group tastings gave way to grab-and-go cheese boxes and virtual “happy hour at home” activities, as Richardson and her team adapted to find ways to continue serving customers.
“You play the hand that’s been dealt, and I’d like to think that that’s what we all were doing,” Richardson said.
As some in-person activities have resumed, Richardson said she expects to continue offering take-home experiences for customers and has considered offering virtual events.
“Online is really where it's going to be at, as well as experience-driven opportunities,” Richardson said. “An experience out with your friends is the one thing you still cannot buy on the internet.”
A tasting menu
Gourmage offers cheese, wine, chocolate and other unique goods imported from around the country and internationally for customers to enjoy at home or in the store.
Wine - Prayers of Sinners red blend is one of Richardson’s favorite options available in the store. For the bottle: $30 in store or $21 to go.
Cheese plate - Customers can share a cheese plate that features three types of cheese, charcuterie, fruit, nuts and other accompaniments. $21
Chocolate - For a sweet option, the store offers a variety of chocolates in unique flavors. $3.25 each.
270 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels