Once upon a time, a ‘grazing platter’ was just chopped veg, a random variety of crisps, and assorted dips. We have come a long way since then! Today, a grazing platter is a veritable feast for the eyes. The good news is that there are no strict rules for you to follow which gives you plenty of wiggle room for the types of food you use. It’s all about bite-sized eating.
Typically, grazing platters feature cheese, fruit, vegetables, charcuterie, olives, dried fruits, nuts, crackers, dips, condiments, and garnish. The beauty of grazing platters is you can push it further and create an entire grazing table.
The key to executing your grazing gift is to take a good look at the size of the platter or table you plan to use. This will allow you to do it accordingly. It doesn’t matter whether you use plastic platters, wooden boards, or a tiered cake-stand. They can be round, rectangular, oblong, or square. It’s all down to your preference and how big you want your presentation to be.
If you want to jazz up a small get together at your home or plan for a major squad, then you have to build the perfect grazing station. It’s something a little different, but it provides you with the bonus of a focal point where people can get talking. Plus, it’s great for the ‘gram.
The color block
Of course, the easiest way to get it right, while saving time, is to enlist the services of a private chef. If that isn’t possible for you, however, you have to focus on the color block. When you have a block of color it has to be broken up with another color.
For example, if you’re serving a platter of salmon, ensure there are lemon wedges for a pop of color. If you’re serving pork pies, then lambs lettuce can sit beneath them to add a pop of color. You can use charcuterie in segments to help separate meats from cheeses and add in sprigs or herbs or bright edible flowers. Another great way to inject color is with fruit, melons make great wedges or cubes.
Consider altering the height of different foods to create a more powerful visual. Bear in mind, everything should be easy to reach. Cake stands are great to do this, but you can use baskets, craters, or even old boxes.
As fresh as you like. Rather, as fresh as you can. It’s always wise to buy fresh produce and shop with the season. You’re going to get the best. When it comes to buying meat, buy from the deli counter the day before you plan to build and eat your grazing platter. Always ask for thinly sliced meats.
Beyond that, the first proper step is to write down a list of all of the ingredients you need. You don’t want to forget anything. Once you have all of your ingredients, you can prep them. It’s best to do all the prep on the day you plan to build and eat your platter. Once you slice and dice your ingredients, you can store them separately in plastic containers.
Be sure to remove all of your cheeses from the fridge an hour before serving. If it’s out for longer than that, you can lay a damp cloth over it to prevent it from drying out. When it comes to crackers to accompany that cheese, don’t be afraid to mix it up with flavors, breadsticks, and crispbread.
Don’t forget dips and condiments! You can make your own dips or opt for store-bought, either way, you can use colorful dips to decorate the platter or table. To make it easier for guests to get what they want and jazz up your display, consider individual servings of dips in shot glasses or tumblers. Don’t be afraid to garnish your dips, whether it’s drizzling them with oil, sprigs of herbs, roasted chickpeas, or even crumbled feta.
There are certain things you should avoid. Hot food doesn’t hold well so avoid it altogether. Fish, or sushi, can also be a dangerous proposition as far as food handling safety goes. However, you can use ice as a style choice to keep it cool, fresh, and safe. Pate spreads are also risky, simply because they go brown when they sit out a while, which isn’t ideal for display purposes. For the same reason, you may want to avoid avocados. You might want to avoid anything that smells strongly as well, potent cheeses like brie or stilton, for example.