Not all grazing boards are created equal. Some position chocolate next to the cheddar, celery next to the strawberries or – worst of all – don’t provide enough cheese (for shame!).
Platters are an art that can take years to perfect, but lucky for us, we’ve got the catering queen herself, Simmone Logue, to give us her top tips on how to do grazing boards right, just like those swoon-worthy ones you see at a Married at First Sight wedding party.
Prepare for a stampede to the buffet table people.
“I think colour and variety and different textures are a must on a grazing table,” says Simmone. “Think charcuterie – which is a fancy word for sliced meats – cheeses, marinated vegetables including olives, fresh and dried fruits and nuts.
“Plus, lots of differently shaped savoury biscuits and breads.”
Think about presentation
“For me I love to present, say a buffet, with space between the platters, so there is room for the eye to rest – it offers clarity to the food,” she says.
“I like to leave space around the edge of the platter for clarity and clean lines too, and I love to line my canapés up in a really straight line with all the garnishes pointing in the same direction.”
As for the cherry on top? “I love a crisp white table cloth,” she says.
Look at the weather
“Always consider the weather when setting up your grazing station,” says Simmone.
“Remember food needs to stay cold, and it dries out very quickly, so no windy thoroughfares. And if it’s a really hot day refrigerate your food, but have your table clothed with all your props and platters, then you can pop the food on the table at the last minute.”
“I love a seafood grazer,” says Simmone, “Lots of ice, lemons, limes, white linen and silverware. Try smoked fish with cream cheese, capers and onions.”
A veggie option could be something as simple as beautiful produce. “Try tomatoes of different shapes and colours, with basil and bocconcini,” she says.
For meaty options, Simmone favours glazed ham with a selection of mustards, butter and bread, “Or pair chicken or spatchcock with preserved lemon and fruity couscous,” she says.
It’s all about finding that ultimate combination — like pairing seasonal salad greens with a delicious Oli & Vine Rich Balsamic, Turkish Fig, Sweet Honey dressing.
“If you are planning a cocktail party with pass-around food, have all of your components ready in small containers and put them together as the platter is about to be circulated,” says Simmone. “This is important because you want it to be as fresh as possible, especially if you are topping tart cases or toasts.”
As an example, Simmone offers a little recipe: “So for gravlax salmon with dill mayonnaise and fried capers in a shortcrust tart case, you could have your gravlax sliced, dill mayo made, capers fried and tart cases at the ready – just recruit a friend to help, and your platter could be done in five minutes.”
Looking for delicious flavour combinations to fall in love with? Try Oli & Vine.