If you have been to any modern wedding of late, dined at friends homes or spent time at a fancy schmancy cocktail party or engagement soiree you will know that Grazing tables or platters or spreads are the thing right now. And with good reason. They are SO easy to put together once you get your head around the numbers. They can cater to gluten free, keto, dairy free, vegans, the whole lot! I have been working lately with European Food Wholesalers in Perth (who are about to go nationwide Australia!) and they do HEAPS of grazing platters and tables, so much so they have actually done up a handy guide on what to get and for how many etc. It is invaluable! Check it out HERE for some ideas. AND if you are Perth based, you can call up, tell them what you are hoping to achieve, the numbers and budget you have and they will box it all up for you ready to simply pick up! I do love that! All you have to do is arrange and maybe make a few extras so you look like you actually did something!
The rest is really up to you, and a word of warning, I always over cater...which is well worth it as we snack like queens for at least a week afterwards...but if you are looking to not overspend, then follow the guidelines!
I think the key is to go for colour, texture, sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy, creamy.
Nutty Seeded Crackers are always on my list. These can be made well in advance and will suit all your gluten free and keto peeps. Then add other crackers, sliced bread, or whole loaves but provide a knife.
Of course there should be some fruity elements, go with dried muscatels, apricots, pears etc, and plenty of nuts, roasted or un-roasted. Think colour again. Go with roasted hazelnuts for example as they are a beautiful golden colour but don't roast the pistachios as they will no longer be bright green!
Then there are the cheeses, don't get me started, but as a guide, you need a strong cheddar, a creamy blue (as some people dislike blue and I have to say the Eureka blue as pictured above is AH-mazing and available in IGA stores!) You should have a sweet cheese, like a Jarlsberg or Masdaam or Pradera then a soft rind cheese like brie or camembert. After that you can add anything you like. These would be my basic inclusions. Top a big wheel of cheese with some nuts then drizzle with honey right before you serve, or better still get a piece of oozy sweet honeycomb and put that on top. It looks amazing and just adds the right amount of wow factor!
As for meats, you need plenty of options just for the look and pair cold or cured meats with bright red peppers stuffed with creamy white cheese, grissini sticks for some height, rolled up with olives also for colour. Speaking of height, it is a good idea to have footed cake stands or other plates that can sit on top of something else to give you some height. There are heaps of options at Kitchen Warehouse for grazing tables these days, so go have a browse and invest.
Needless to say you will get better at it the more often you do it, so offer to be the grazing platter bringerer! You will become very socially in demand...life will take on new meaning! (And don't forget to hashtag me #cookingwithtenina when you get there!!)