A grazing table for those that don’t know, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a full table of beautifully arranged food for your guests to snack, or graze, on. It’s like a dressed-up version or an oversized antipasto platter and here is how to create your very own.
The first thing you’ll want to do when planning a grazing table is to pick a theme. Will it be tropical and fruity or perhaps Mediterranean? Maybe you will opt for purely desserts. Consider mixing it up a bit with a BBQ theme of simply stick with the traditional antipasto.
Once you have settled on your theme you can now begin planning the specifics. Create a list of all the food you want that matches your theme. Below are some important things to consider when it comes to creating this list.
- Be sure that this is food is manageable hand held (for those that like to pick) but also provide your guests with plates and plenty of utensils just in case.
- Have food that can sit at room temperature. If it’s summer, remember items like cold meats, cheeses & dips should not be left out for more than 2 hours. In winter this can be stretched to up to 4 hours and then it should be discarded.
- If possible, buy all your items fresh and local, supporting your local delicatessen, fruit and veg shop or market, it is bound to be more delicious and a wider range of options.
A grazing table is an absolute centrepiece, a talking point for guests but is also used for convenience. The grazing table must look aesthetically pleasing to your guests so they have no choice but to gorge themselves.
First things first, the table you are using must be gorgeous. Something wooden and sturdy is often a great choice but if all you have are trestle tables try covering it with a tablecloth that matches your theme. Or use a simple white tablecloth to make your food stand out. Here at Little Ginger, we have all of the essentials (rises, wooden boards, greenery etc) required for creating your ultimate grazing table.
Begin by laying out all of your delicious food, placing the larger pieces first (for example: cheese wheels, bowls with olives or dips) to make statement pieces. You want to use height to your advantage. Charcuterie boards are great, but you will also need bowls or boxes of different sizes to display your food on. These will help to create a three-dimensional look that invites your guests over. It makes your table look lavish and overflowing with incredible food. After all the large pieces have been set out, it’s time to add crackers, meats, fruits etc.
Once your food is on the table, step back and pause for a moment. Ask yourself: does it look truly mouth-watering? If the answer isn’t ‘hell yeah’, then there is something missing. Check that your food has covered as much of the table as possible. Cover up any blank space with smaller food like nuts and berries, add a few finishing touches to the food placed like strawberry or figs cut in half placements they are perfect for this job. Don’t worry about the intermingling of your food, grazing tables are often described as ‘organised chaos’. You may also like to add some greenery or florals into the styling element of the table.
If all of the above seems right, take a look at your theme. Perhaps it isn’t as obvious as it should be. A tropical display should have lots of different fruits and table should be vibrant. If you’ve decided on traditional then you should have plenty of different types of crackers, breads and meats and an array of colourful dips.
But if there is still something missing, have you taken a look at your utensils. Are they simply plastic and paper? Sometimes this is fine but if you are looking to set your grazing table above and beyond, match your utensils to your theme.
Going traditional? Use wood. Tropical? Maybe gold or a vibrant pink.
And now, once you are satisfied, let the guests dig in and enjoy.
By Nelly Bowyer, Little Ginger Co.