February 05, 2021
No matter what the occasion, food will always be a staple. Next to the taste of the food you will be serving, presentation also leaves a strong impact on your guests. If you are running out of ideas on how to prepare a delectable dish that everyone will love, perhaps it is time to create your own grazing table.
A grazing table fits both casual and formal gatherings. Creating one is a skill worth honing especially for people who love to host parties and feasts. Don’t worry about not knowing the basics of making one because you’ll learn all the essentials in this blog!
A grazing table, sometimes called a grazing buffet, is an exquisite style of serving food for a big or small social gathering. Albeit having the same theme as a buffet, this type of food arrangement is fairly more easygoing, eco-friendly, and versatile. More importantly, it helps you leave a good first impression with presentation alone.
In a typical buffet, plates and dining utensils must be provided to customers or event attendees. The practice naturally leaves so much waste to clean up and dispose once people are done with their meals. Let’s not forget about all the preparation needed to deliver a complete and scrumptious meal to feed all the people attending your get-together. Whether you plan to cook or bake, preparing for a group of people takes a huge chunk of your energy and time and it is altogether exasperating.
In contrast, grazing tables are hassle-free and time-saving. It works for both sweet, savoury and sophisticated palates. The setup is very upbeat and modern while still exuding a classic and fresh vibe. As such, it is not surprising that outdoor and indoor parties would look and feel better with a dainty tablescape as its centerpiece.
Compliments and praises aside, there are specific key factors you must consider once you decide to do a grazing table for a change. These factors and steps are highly reliant on your aesthetic, food of choice, as well as the theme and setting of your event.
Now to cut to the chase, here are the steps needed to assemble a grazing table:
Ideally, you want to pick a table or a board that complements the theme of your party and provides ample space for all the food you will be serving. See to it that the size of your furniture choice is just enough to accommodate all the food and decorations.
Look for tables with compartments to make it easier to arrange the food and drinks. For simpler gatherings with a small group of guests, a low and elongated board with glass holders will do. People typically opt for wooden tables due to its rustic feel, but there are also other types of furniture like those made of granite (if you’re feeling very fancy).
Are you expecting several attendees? Then avoid small, round tables as these tend to make the presentation seem cramped and the limited space will likely leave food spilling and falling over. Be strategic in plating and organizing your platters as bigger tables may make your servings appear scarce especially when there is too much space left to fill in. You can also use more than one table if you are catering to a large group of people and if there are several types of food and beverages served.
To say that the second step to making a grazing table is to choose the food, would seem a tad too superficial. On the other hand, picking a theme for your grazing table covers everything, from your food and drink selections, to the furniture size and the decorations you will use to adorn your feast. The theme will also add a sizable estimate to your choices. It is essential that you don’t go overboard with the meals you prepare or underwhelm your guests’ palate.
When it comes to picking out which food to serve, stick with finger foods or meals that people can easily eat and carry around without the need for a plate or an entire set of dining utensils. The idea is to entice guests to come take as much food as they can and keep coming back for more.
Some of the most famous dining themes that go well when you prepare grazing table include cheese tasting. It doesn’t require eating utensils and attendees can easily gauge the amount of food to take. Other excellent options to consider include a wine tasting party, a dessert board, or a feast of fresh fruits such as grapes, kiwis, cherries, blueberries, and strawberries.
You can even hold a gathering revolving around soup, cured meat, pizza, noodles, sliders. Your imagination and creativity are the only limits.
Let’s Talk About Your Grazing Table
Don’t be satisfied with just having food to place and serve on your grazing table. Take the time and effort to decorate it and coordinate your linens and serving utensils with the theme of your event and your food. Doing so effectively adds a visual appeal that’s sure to keep attendees flocking to taste every bit of delicacy you have prepared for them.
Add flower bouquets or small plants in a bowl. Illuminate the arrangement with lamps or fairy lights for an ethereal and romantic feel. Place your grazing table near a wall or in the middle of the venue so people will find and access the food with ease. Create a backdrop where you can add a short message to your guests or place the name of your event. Adorning your grazing table with non-edible elements balance out the overall look of your reception.
Try not to leave too much space in between the food, dip, and drinks. A blank space on your table diminishes the appetizing impact it has on the people attending your gathering. When your servings are strategically arranged and placed next to each other, it exudes abundance and a welcoming atmosphere for all the people in your social get-together.
Individuals who are new to the concept of a grazing table might raise their eyebrows at the thought of serving finger foods in a more open and casual manner. Place a butcher paper over the table if you are serving meat, cheese, or other types of food that leave stains or give off certain odors. Using brown wrapping papers is recommended as well because it will ease the time spent cleaning up once the event is over. For instance, leftover crumbs from dry food like cookies and crackers are easier to wipe off and collect.
Slice foods into bite-sized pieces before you set a grazing table. If your guests need to look for a fork and spoon or pass around a knife to take chunks of the food they fancy, then it defeats the purpose of preparing one.
Menus that include food or drinks that are quite new or uncommon to the general public might need place cards with labels and brief descriptions for each of the dishes. In this manner, you won’t have to play a guessing game with your guests or make them feel anxious about what they are about to introduce to their palate.
Avoid doing a last minute arrangement for grazing tables. You want to keep your food fresh and your decorations neatly placed to avoid any accidents and awkward incidences while your guests are busy digging into your servings. More importantly, prepare foods that fair well in room temperature for a maximum of five hours. The disadvantage to serving food that requires lower or higher temperatures is it can spoil easily.
The last but most important step when you make a grazing table is to unleash your inner foodie and artistic soul! Realistically speaking, you don’t just eat with your sense of taste. You “eat” and immerse yourself in the food you consume through your other senses too. Every single detail counts: From the vibrant colours of each fruit and delectable sweets to the combined aroma of savoury meals to the different textures of cheeses, nuts, pastries, and meats.
What kind of emotions do you want your guests to feel the moment they see the food you prepared? More importantly, how would you want people to remember the occasion? Of course, you would want them to associate their experience with the food presentation that you worked so hard to pull off.
Apply this idea with how you arrange, conceptualize and create your own grazing table.
A good dining experience attracts great company; and so by learning how to do your own grazing table, you are adding your personal touch to your big and small events. It takes practice, but the moment you master it, people will instantly recognize your signature dining arrangements.
To make a grazing table is a labor of love. If you want more expert tips on food and accessory choices for a grazing buffet or if you prefer having it done professionally, why not try Platter&Boe? We use fresh and locally sourced products for grazing table selections. We also prepare food creations in platter boards and boxes for all occasions!
Let’s Talk About Your Grazing Table