You've heard of the grazing board but have you heard of the grazing table? If you've got a big get-together coming up and you want to impress your guests, forget about those pre-made serving platters and try turbo charging this humble snack serving idea into your party's pièce de résistance!
So what is a grazing table?
Well, you can probably take a guess at this one. A grazing table is essentially an elevated cheeseboard on a larger scale. Instead of using individual cheese boards, it uses an entire table top to serve an array of cheeses and snacks. A grazing table can feed a large amount of people, and provides a great opportunity for people to gather and share food together. A well executed grazing table is truly the grazing platter to end all grazing platters.
It seems awfully messy, why would I want to do this?
Firstly, because they look amazing. If you're putting on a big party or you're even organising a baby shower or wedding reception, it's great to create a bit of theatre with the food that you're serving. Having the host walk around with a nice charcuterie board is all well and good, but if you really want the food to be the centrepiece, this is the way to do it.
By using a whole table top as your grazing table, you're effectively giving yourself a nice big canvas to create a stunning culinary centrepiece. Although some cleaning is required after the event, using a grazing table is less cumbersome than dealing with multiple dishes and utensils that may not fit in the dishwasher or are difficult to wash by hand.
What are some grazing table ideas for my next party?
They're basically just oversized cheese boards, so really you can put anything you want on them. A typical grazing board will usually have the following components:
- Cheeses such as cheddar, brie, mozzarella, swiss etc
- Crackers and pretzels
- Meats, including cured meats and other deli meats
- Fresh fruits of your choice, e.g. grapes, cherries and strawberries
- Dried fruits such as apricots and figs
- Veggies; cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, carrot sticks etc
- Sweet treats such as chocolate, sweet coated nuts etc
Of course, this wouldn't be a Jerky Co blog without suggesting some of our delicious air dried meats now, would it?
Simple grazing tables with mostly store bought ingredients are fine, but if you want to really impress your guests then it's definitely worth exploring some gourmet options. Why throw on some rolled up ham slices when you could instead put on a handful of our fatty beef biltong? Or better yet, our exotic truffle biltong? Instead of slices of deli-bought roast beef, you could try adding some of our delicious Great Southern Outback Spiced beef jerky.
We have a tonne of jerky and biltong options that will work with any of your other ingredients. If your platter is loaded with savoury ingredients such as olives, vegetables and strong cheeses, then perhaps some Sweet BBQ beef jerky will help to break it up a little bit. On the flipside, say you've got a lot of fruit and other sweet ingredients on your grazing table, our smokey or chilli flavoured jerky options would work well to balance the flavours out.
Can I DIY a grazing table?
Yes, that's the beauty of grazing tables. While there are specialised companies that offer grazing table setup services, you can also easily create one yourself for full customisation. This allows you to be creative and add your own unique touch in terms of both flavours and presentation. You can even opt for an all-desserts table. Ensure you have on hand the right sized table for your event and the number of guests. You can lay down flat serving boards across the entire table top as a base for the food. All that is left to do is purchase your ingredients, and display them nicely on the table shortly before your guests arrive.
Other DIY grazing table tips and tricks:
- Plan ahead: Make sure to plan the grazing table layout, including the type and amount of food you will serve. Consider dietary restrictions and food allergies of your guests.
- Variety is key: Offer a variety of sweet and savory options, including cheese, meats, crackers, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dips.
- Visual appeal: Create a visually appealing display by using different heights and textures. Use wooden boards, baskets, and serving platters to add depth and interest to the table.
- Balance flavors: Balance flavors by pairing strong cheeses with sweet or mild fruits, and salty crackers with creamy dips.
- Label ingredients: Label the food items and ingredients clearly to help guests with allergies and dietary restrictions.
- Keep it fresh: Make sure to keep perishable items like fruits and cheese chilled until ready to serve.
- Space it out: Space out the food items to make it easier for guests to reach and try everything.
- Have utensils ready: Make sure to have utensils such as knives, serving spoons, and toothpicks readily available.
- Consider the time of day: Offer different types of food based on the time of day. For example, lighter options for lunch and more substantial options for dinner.
How many people can a grazing table cater for?
A grazing table can accommodate any number of guests, as it can be customised to fit your needs. The advantage of a grazing table is that all the food is displayed on one large table, making it easier to estimate the amount of food needed and reducing waste. By having a well-sized table to accommodate for your number of guests, you can avoid having excessive leftovers that will eventually go to waste.