Just when you thought a cheese platter couldn’t get any better, grazing platters burst onto the scene on a mission to satisfy our most indulgent desires – and make our get-togethers as #instagrammable as possible.
Whether you’re planning a wedding, a family reunion or just want to take your picnics to the next level, a grazing platter is the ultimate appetizer. A smorgasbord of cheese and crackers, breads and dips, fruit and meat, sweet, savoury and a little bit naughty, a grazing platter caters to everyone and has truly become an event staple.
If you’re planning on making one of your own, remember: there are no rules. Round marble cheese boards are just as acceptable as long planks of wood, and the more creative you get with your garnishes, the better (hollowed-out coconuts, flowers, foliage and fairy lights are all fair game).
While there aren’t any rules when it comes to making your own grazing platter, there are a few key elements that should be included and some good tips to keep in mind.
For amazing grazing, ensure you remember the following:
Suit your season: the warmer months are officially here, which means lighter, softer cheeses, stone fruits and nibbles that pair well with white wine should feature heavily on your grazing platter. In winter, think berries, rich cheese and warm, heavier breads.
Mix and match: with that being said, it’s important to have a good range on your platter. Cheddar can sit beside camembert, and chocolate can go next to crackers. Remember, this will either kick off or be the main meal served at your event so try to include something for everyone.
Take it up a notch: instead of slapping a store-bought brie onto your platter, why not brush it with some honey and bake it for five minutes? Rather than serving the dips in their original plastic containers, transfer them to small patterned bowls – or better yet, buy the ones that come in terracotta pots! You don’t have to go over the top, but making little improvements here and there will show in the finished product.
Make a centrepiece: whether it’s a bunch of flowers, a large wheel of cheese or a gourmet loaf of bread, a centrepiece will add drama to your cheese platter (that’s something I never thought I would say…) with minimal effort.
Decorations: they’re perhaps the most fun part of creating a grazing platter, so let your imagination run wild! Plants and flowers are always a good option – you can even use fake ones from a discount store – but experiment with different plates and jars, napkins, cake stands and scatter lollies and chocolates for extra texture.
… but when putting together a grazing platter is the last thing you’ve got time for, call in the pros. That’s right – there are a tonne of people who have turned their grazing platter prowess into a career, who can help take your event to the next level.