Toria Smith and Catherine Callaghan, the leading grazing table experts at GRAPE&Fig have partnered with cheeseboard staple Port Salut to showcase how easy it is to make the perfect at-home grazing platter. As we continue to adjust to the New Normal and spend more time indoors, check out their step-by-step guide below on how to create the ultimate at-home grazing platter as they share the secrets to bring happiness and creativity to loved ones whether at home with immediate family or when hosting a digital party for friends & extended family during social distancing.
Grazing tables are show-stopping, edible works of art which are perfect for upgrading any food occasion. From beautiful boards for one, to pretty platters for two, they can be created to suit any number of diners.
Cost-effective to make, a grazing board can be crafted by getting creative with any leftovers or utilising whatever you’ve got available in your cupboards and fridge, and once you know how, they can be easily created for any occasion.
To create your own, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps…
Start with placing the cheese on the board, in the above we’ve used Port Salut. If you’re creating a platter for one or two people, we would recommend 1 – 2 wedges of cheese, and for a small sized board which will feed up to 6 people (30 x 30cm board), we recommend 2/3 wedges.
The beauty of using something like a Port Salut wedge is that you can cut and display it in different ways to make each cheese ‘cluster’ or section look intriguing on the platter. For example, try cutting one wedge into equal strips and laying them down in a ‘fan’ shape on the platter displaying the rich, creamy cheese as well as a little of the beautiful orange rind. Keep a couple of wedges whole, but place one with the rind completely showing, and another with the creamy cheese showing. This will create depth and intrigue on the platter!
Next, place your fish and/or meats (if you choose to include). Smoked salmon and prosciutto are perfect parings for a spring platter – the salmon isn’t too overpowering, and its texture and light pink colour lends itself brilliantly to a ‘light but bright’ or ‘Spring’ theme. Salty prosciutto complements but isn’t too overbearing! Try creating little ‘flowers’ of salmon and prosciutto and place in 2 or 3 distinct areas near to the already placed cheese – this will stop it looking ‘flat’ and will add more texture. Those red/pink hues will already make the platter ‘pop’, and we haven’t even got to the fun part yet!
Next, add your fruits and vegetables – we are talking carefully chopped radishes, carrots, cucumbers, blanched asparagus, cherry tomatoes (yellow and orange if you can) and boiled eggs. Put simply, you can use whatever produce you have available to you. This (very healthy!) produce will add wonderful colourful elements to the platter, and the green, pink, orange, yellow and white colours just scream spring! Wrapping the prosciutto around the asparagus is just divine and a perfect paring! The radishes, cucumber and boiled egg with some smoked salmon is also a match made in heaven on a hearty oat cracker or a bagel. The crunch of crudités with the smooth creamy Port Salut on a cracker, or on its own, is also perfectly complementary, in both texture and flavour.
So far the platter has only savoury elements, but adding sweet treats onto the platter is not only recommended to bring variety and please those sweet toothed out there, but is very much commonplace with platter/grazing caterers, such as GRAPE&Fig. Cheese is always the hero and tastes delicious when paired with fresh seasonal fruit. Right now, berries, fresh cherries, figs, sliced grapes and peaches work well as the sweet flavour balances well against the creaminess of the cheese. The tart flavour of homemade pear and cranberry chutney placed on a cracker with a slice of cheese is one to remember too! Of course, if you’re a fan of sweet and savoury, why not be creative and incorporate your favourite treats? Adding some broken milk and dark chocolate, Mini Eggs and Smarties will tie in nicely to the spring pastel theme of the season but are also perfect to graze on too.
Next add your crunch – hearty oat crackers, bagels and nuts (pistachios are great due to their multicoloured appearance). These may not be the heroes of a platter, but they certainly are essential. Here, quality counts.
Lastly, garnish your platter to make it super Instagrammable – we’d recommend dill, along with eye-catching Spring flowers such as daffodils, tulips and primrose on a bed of eucalyptus to keep the theme fresh, crisp and very ‘spring-like’…and top tip, once the platter is eaten, you can create a handmade bouquet with the flowers and enjoy for days to come!
About the experts
Leading grazing table experts GRAPE&Fig is run by Toria Smith and Catherine Callaghan. The team is renowned for creating visual masterpieces for a wealth of celebrity clients and consumers alike, and pride themselves on their meticulous attention to detail to provide both style and substance when it comes to their grazing tables.