How To Create An Enticing Grazing Table
Learn how to serve up a delicious – and visually appealing – grazing table with our foolproof guide.
Party season is just warming up. Be the host that everyone is toasting by setting up a grazing table in place of a traditional buffet or sit-down meal.
Making the meal hands-on for your guests gives them a chance to mingle more while they graze – and lets you enjoy your party, too!
What’s a grazing table?
A grazing table is an awesome alternative to a buffet meal or plated party. Food is artfully arranged, and munching and mingling are highly encouraged. A grazing table also takes the pain out of planning by serving as both dinner and décor.
Intimidated? Don’t be.
We’ve broken down each component into easy, bite-sized portions.
Set the table
You’ll need a few items to start:
- A large table
- An interesting tablecloth
- Serving platters, a tray and stands of various heights
- Mixed-and-matched dishes, utensils, plates and glasses (skip the paper plates and plasticware for this party)
The key to setting up a great grazing table is all about that base. Start with a clean surface by spraying and wiping clean your table with Home Made Simple Multi-Purpose Cleaner. Then add a patterned tablecloth for visual interest. Pick one that goes with the theme of your event or the season.
Next, look at the room’s layout to determine if your guests will be able to help themselves from one, two or all sides of the table. If your table can be accessed from two or more sides, position the highest stands in the middle of the table. If guests can access the food from only one side, work from the back to the front when building height. Then place your platters. A beautiful grazing table comes to life when you vary the heights of your serving trays.
I’M HUNGRY. LET’S EAT!
Now, on to the good stuff: the food!
Grazing tables have a little bit of everything portioned into small, bite-sized pieces. Don’t include anything that’s too big or too messy to eat while mingling. Choose a couple of items from each of these food groups to create a tasteful event full of flavor:
- Meats and cheeses: Include a variety of cured meats, as well as sausages like peppered salami, sopressata, prosciutto or capicola. A few of your favorite cheeses should have a seat at the table, too. Don’t forget to offer hard and soft cheese options. Gouda, cheddar, goat cheese and Brie are sure to please.
- Sweet and savory spreads: Balance the flavors of your meats and cheeses with sweet spreads like chutney, honey or a light fig jam. No grazing table is complete without an assortment of olives, nuts (cashews, almonds or pistachios), and cornichons (those cute, tiny pickles). And don’t forget a savory spread to accompany your sweet spreads. A spicy mustard should do the trick.
- Fruits and veggies: Add color and fresh eating options for guests with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables add a nice crunch to your plate and add visual variety to your tablescape. Bunches of grapes are quick to display and tasty to eat. Sliced apples pair nicely with cheddar, and your palette will be delighted when you pair blackberry and Brie in a single bite. You can also gather inspiration for fruits and veggies to serve by visiting your local farmer’s market and purchasing what’s in season.
- Hearty bites: If you can’t resist doing at least a little cooking for the party, whip up some tiny sandwiches or mini quiches to add more substantive food options. Include some bread choices as well. Consider a fresh-baked baguette, a variety of crackers – or both!
- Sweet treats: Save some room for dessert! Chocolates, glass vases filled with colored candies and plates of cookies, mini-cupcakes or other pint-sized pastries also make for a delicious display.
Tip: For end-of-the-night dish duty that inspired by nature that gets the job done, try Home Made Simple Dish Soap in lavender, rosemary or lemon scents. Squirt a small amount on a sponge or in the sink, clean dishes in warm water and rinse.
You now have everything you need to get this grazing party started. Provide your guests with a variety of bite-sized goodies that are easy to grab and nibble, and you’ll enjoy yourself from setup to cleanup.