The old bikkies and dip have come a long way since I was a kid. Now it’s all Instagram-worthy spreads, specialty cheese and the latest food trends. It goes by many names like grazing board, grazing table, grazing plate, grazing platter, charcuterie board, charcuterie table, and antipasto. But whatever you call it, it’s an easy way to feed a crowd and almost always looks too good to eat.
A few months ago I went to a lunchtime birthday party where they had a large grazing table. There were quite a lot of adults at the party and I kept wondering when they would bring out the party food. You know, the sausage rolls, meat pies and cocktail frankfurts. But they didn’t come, the grazing table was essentially lunch. And surprisingly it was enough to fill me up enough.
Knowing how surprisingly filling it was, I decided to make one for a recent girls’ night that I hosted at my house. I searched a few different hashtags on Instagram for research. Then I made my shopping list!
Get ideas for your grazing table with 40+ Unique Charcuterie Board Ideas For Your Next Party (perfect for a housewarming) and add some drinks to match from 101 Girls Night Cocktails (and mocktails) For Your Next Ladies Night.
Supplies for a great grazing table
Before you get started with the ultimate grazing table food list there are some other supplies that you might like to have on hand.
- large platter
- wooden boards like cheese boards
- cheese knives for both hard cheeses and soft cheeses
- brown paper or parchment paper
- tiered stands like cake stands to create visual interest
- ramekins or small bowls
- small spoons or toothpicks
- serviettes or napkins
Grazing table shopping list
Cheese is a popular and essential item on a grazing table. Here are some types of cheese that you may want to consider when putting together a grazing table:
Soft Cheese: Soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert, and goat cheese, are great options for a grazing table. They are mild and creamy, and they pair well with crackers, fruits, and nuts.
Hard Cheese: Hard cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda, and parmesan, are also great options. They have a stronger flavour and are perfect for pairing with cured meats and other savoury snacks.
Blue Cheese: Blue cheese, such as gorgonzola and Roquefort, can add a bold and tangy flavour to your grazing table. They are perfect for pairing with fresh fruits, nuts, and honey.
Semi-soft Cheese: Semi-soft cheeses, such as Havarti and fontina, are a great option for adding variety to your grazing table. They have a smooth and creamy texture and pair well with fruits, crackers, and bread.
Fresh Cheese: Fresh cheeses, such as ricotta and feta, are perfect for adding a light and refreshing touch to your grazing table. They pair well with fresh fruits, vegetables, and crackers.
When choosing cheese for your grazing table, it’s important to consider a variety of flavours, textures, and types. You can also create a visual impact by arranging the cheese on different levels and adding garnishes such as fresh herbs, fruits, and nuts.
Fruit & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide a healthy and colourful option that can balance out the richer, savoury items on the table. Here are some fruits and vegetables that are perfect for a grazing table:
Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are all great options. They are small and easy to eat, and they provide a pop of colour and sweetness.
Grapes: Grapes are a classic fruit for a grazing table. They are easy to eat and come in a variety of colours and flavours.
Melons: Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are all great options. They are refreshing and hydrating, and they can be cut into bite-sized pieces for easy grazing.
Citrus fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, and clementines are great options for adding a tangy and refreshing touch to your grazing table.
Carrots, celery and cucumber: These are classic vegetables for a grazing table. They are crunchy and refreshing, and they pair well with dips and spreads.
Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are small and easy to eat, and they provide a burst of flavour and colour.
Crackers and Bread
Crackers and bread are essential items for a grazing table. They provide a base for the dips, cheeses, and other toppings, and they add a crunchy and satisfying texture to the overall spread. Here are some options for crackers and bread to include on your grazing table:
Baguette slices: Baguette slices are a classic bread option that pairs well with cheeses, dips, and meats.
Crostini: Crostini are thin slices of toasted bread that are perfect for topping with spreads, meats, and cheeses.
Crackers: There are many types of crackers to choose from, including plain, wheat, and whole-grain. Choose a variety of textures and shapes to add visual interest to your grazing table.
Breadsticks: Bread sticks are a crunchy and savoury option that is perfect for dipping in hummus, salsa, and other dips.
Pita bread: Pita bread is a soft and fluffy bread that is perfect for dipping in tzatziki and other Mediterranean-style dips.
Meats are a great addition to a grazing table and can provide a variety of flavours and textures. Here are some great meat options to include on your grazing table:
Charcuterie: Charcuterie is a broad term that refers to cured meats such as salami, prosciutto, and ham. These meats are usually sliced thin and arranged on a platter.
Sausages: Sausages, such as chorizo or bratwurst, can add a bold and savoury flavour to your grazing table. Slice them into bite-sized pieces and arrange them on a platter.
Roast beef or turkey: Thinly sliced roast beef or turkey can be a great addition to a grazing table, especially if you include a variety of dips and sauces to accompany them.
Meatballs: Meatballs can be made in advance and served at room temperature, making them a convenient addition to a grazing table. Serve them on toothpicks or skewers for easy snacking.
Chicken skewers: Chicken skewers can be grilled or baked and then served at room temperature. Choose a flavorful marinade, such as teriyaki or BBQ, to add extra flavour to the chicken.
You can never go wrong with a dip. They provide a savoury and often creamy option that pairs well with vegetables, crackers, and bread. Here are some dips that are perfect for a grazing table:
- French onion
- Spicy capsicum
A dessert dip can also be an option.
Sweet treats are an essential part of a grazing table. They provide a sweet and indulgent option that balances out the savoury items on the table. Here are some sweet treats that are perfect for a grazing table:
Chocolate: Chocolate is always a hit on a grazing table. You can include a variety of chocolate types, such as dark, milk, and white chocolate. You can also add different textures such as chocolate-covered nuts, fruits, and pretzels.
Cookies and biscuits: Cookies and biscuits are a classic sweet treat for a grazing table. You can include a variety of cookie or biscuit types and sizes.
Lollies: Lollies are a fun and colourful addition to a grazing table. You can include a variety of lollies, such as gummies, jellybeans, marshmallows and hard candies.
Macarons: Macarons are a popular and elegant sweet treat for a grazing table. They come in a variety of flavours and colours, and they add a touch of sophistication to your table.
Dessert bites: Miniature desserts such as brownie bites, mini cupcakes, mini doughnuts and tarts are a great option for adding variety to your grazing table. They are small and easy to eat, and they come in a variety of flavours and textures.
Pirouline Crème Filled Wafers Chocolate Hazelnut, 40 oz
Putting the grazing table together
When it’s time to lay it all out, think about the big picture. Do you want to spread out some of the featured items? Will you put everything out at the start, or keep some in reserve? Do you want to try to group like colours to make it visually appealing? Also, consider placing the finger foods at different heights.
I put out my small bowls and containers first, along with the dips. Then built everything up around those. A large chopping board is a must. It helps make the grazing platter portable, for easy relocation if the weather turns bad. If you live anywhere like Melbourne, you need to be prepared for four seasons in one day. If you don’t have a large chopping board, you can always set it up on a bench or table. Lay some butcher’s paper or baking paper down first though!
What occasions are best for grazing tables?
Grazing tables are a versatile and trendy way to serve food, and they can be perfect for a wide range of occasions. Here are some of the occasions where a grazing table can be a good choice:
- birthday parties
- bridal showers
- baby shower
- girl’s night
- cocktail hour before wedding receptions
- holiday party
Use a toothpick to carve a C for camembert or B for Brie on the top of the cheeses so you know which is which. I personally can’t tell the difference, but I’m sure there are people out there that can!
Consider separating the sweets with their own dessert table.
A farmer’s market is there perfect place to get all of the delicious food for you charcuterie platter.
What are you must have shopping list items for a grazing table?
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