AUTHOR: BEC OF 'FOR EVERY HEN'
Whether it's a bridal shower, kitchen tea, hen party, or any other kind of event, grazing tables and/or platters are always a hit! Not only do they give you the freedom to serve up a variety of goodies, play with different textures and get creative, but they're also really fun to put together! If you're considering serving up your very own foodie masterpiece at your next celebration, the following grazing table ideas and tips are bound to get you inspired! Enjoy x
PLAN IT OUT
Grazing tables can sometimes look as though they've been thrown together on a whim (all the while looking amazing!). However there is often quite a lot of thought that goes into the final product. Below are a few things to think about before getting started:
WHAT TYPE OF TABLE IS IT?
It's time to decide what type of food you want to serve! Will you be dishing up savoury items only? A dessert board? Will it be gluten free? Vegan? Vegetarian? Meat lovers? An antipasto table? A cheese table? A mix? Or will you be creating two/more separate grazing tables so that you can cater for a range of options?
Tip: When deciding on the type of foods you will offer, keep dietary requirements in mind. Those who are pregnant aren't able to eat cold meats and soft cheeses (for example), whilst vegetarians won't dig into fruits and vegetables that have been tucked in between slices of ham. It's important to cater to your guests and their needs (so that nobody goes hungry!).
>>> RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO DIY AN IMPRESSIVE GRAZING PLATTER! <<<
DOES YOUR TABLE HAVE A THEME?
If your celebration has a colour palette that you don't want to move away from, it can be incredibly fun to bring the theme to your grazing table!
For example, if you're using lots of pink at your celebration, stick with foods that are either neutral in colour (i.e. browns, creams and whites) and/or those with pinkish tones. Items such as strawberries, watermelon, donuts, macarons, biscuits, raspberries, lollies, dips, breadsticks, crackers, etc. will result in an eye-catching table that compliments your event nicely.
If a themed grazing table is something you are eager to pursue, make the call early. The foods required to pull this off will have to be well thought out to ensure that the table works as planned. It's not hard to do, but it's best to do it before purchasing any products as you don't want to waste your hard earned cash on items that don't end up getting used!
See the image below for an example pink colour palette.
SET A BUDGET
Grazing tables are a great way to serve food at celebrations. But products add up quickly. Make sure your excitement doesn't result in spending more than you intended - set a budget and do your best to stick to it!
DON'T BE AFRAID TO MIX IT UP
Grazing tables are all about providing guests with a range of options. So have fun with it! Liz of Owl B Baking puts it perfectly when stating that you need to "be mindful to select a range of things that have different flavour and textural elements. Chocolate, vanilla, fruity, nutty, creamy, salty, crunchy, chewy". You can view the variety of textures used in her wonderful Dessert Charcuterie Board by clicking here.
WRITE A SHOPPING LIST
Before heading to the shops, make sure you have a plan (that is, a shopping list!). Whilst some items at the supermarket might pop out and be a late addition to your creation, it's recommended that you have an idea of what you definitely do and don't need before spending any money. This includes any ingredients for recipes you intend to make (mini cupcakes, for example).
And finally, prior to putting your masterpiece together, Liz of Owl B Baking has the incredibly helpful suggestion of "planning out the arrangement by sketching it on paper first". This is due to the fact that "while you can certainly start over, you don't want to have to be handling the food too much".
So put your thinking cap on, grab some paper and pencils, and roughly decide where each of your delicious goodies will be placed. If you don't stick to your 'map' 100% that's absolutely fine! But having a vague idea of what you're going to do will definitely work in your favor!
HOW TO PREPARE A GRAZING TABLE
Now that the planning is done and dusted, you may be asking yourself 'how to arrange a grazing table?'.
Angles, textures, colours, heights and more will make the spread your own. And whilst each and every display is going to be different (as the final piece will depend on your personal style), below are some really helpful tips that everyone can use to their advantage.
Contrasting heights will instantly give your table a difference, as will bowls and platters used specifically for dips and/or foods that can't be mixed with other items (such as watermelon).
ADD SOME REFRESHMENTS
Want to take advantage of the 'serve yourself' vibe created by your grazing table? Add some drink dispensers and glasses for guests to indulge in as well. Punch, juice and water are all great options!
IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT THE FOOD
If you think something's missing from your edible design, consider additional décor. This could come in the form of candles, flowers, greenery or anything that ties in with your overall theme and complements the work of art you've already created.
Here are a few ways to decorate the table with inedible items:
When it comes to alternative items that tie in with your overall theme, the list is quite endless! For example, if you're hosting a Christmas themed celebration, welcome additions to the table may include baubles, fairy lights and/or wooden table raisers. You could even use a mini Christmas tree as the main focal point - place it in the centre of the table and create your platter from there.
On the flip side, a tea party theme may suit teapots filled with flowers, teacups filled with dips, and sweet cake stands displaying delicious foods whilst also adding height.
Rather than going all out - keep it simple! Let the food speak for itself, because sometimes less really is more.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GRAZING TABLES:
If you still have questions about grazing tables after reading the above article, this section is for you! Here we have answered some of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to these delicious food arrangements.
I'M WONDERING HOW TO KEEP MY GRAZING TABLE COLD?
One celebration I attended kept their food cold with cheeky, hidden ice packs. For example, they were underneath areas where meats and cheeses were used.
Another great hack is to only put out a small amount of foods that require refrigeration, and simply top up as the celebration goes on. This will not only ensure that foods stay cool, but will also reduce the amount of wastage from your event, and make sure that the cold meats, cheeses, etcetera are safe for consumption.
When it comes to food safety, we love the points made in this article (well worth a read before you start your grazing table planning).
WHERE TO BUY A GRAZING TABLE?
Love the idea of a grazing table but don't want to deal with the planning, styling and more? You can hire a company to do it for you. With a simple Google search, you will come across many grazing table catering businesses in your area. Instagram is also worth a look (you will get to see the beautiful set ups and comments from previous clients)!
AFTER MORE INFO?
If you're still left wondering after reading through the Q&A's (or if you would like us to explain something in a little more detail), please get in touch!
ARTICLES RELATED TO THESE GRAZING TABLE IDEAS:
Now that you have all of the above tips to help you create one incredibly beautiful and satisfying grazing tale, you may also be interested in checking out a few recipes! The following article has three wonderful options to choose from. Follow this link to view them all now! Want to find some delish appetizers to add to your platter? Then these wonderful recipes are for you. Click here to view them now!
THESE GRAZING TABLE IDEAS WILL HELP YOU CREATE A WORK OF FOODIE ART!
I hope this list has provided you with LOTS of tips, tricks and inspiration. Grazing tables are so much fun to put together - and the fact that a messy board doesn't mean a bad board is even better (they ALL turn out looking amazing in their own way)!
I'm always on the lookout for new and inventive ways to create foodie masterpieces - and will update this article every time a new option comes to mind. That being said, if you have any additional ideas that our community could learn from, please do share them via the comments section below or social media! (AUS Facebook Group | Worldwide Facebook Group | Pinterest)
Cheers to an AMAZING party where the food is an absolute hit!
Much love, keep smiling - Bec x