I recently hosted a friend’s birthday party. Instead of a meal I opted for a grazing table (example pictured above), basically a variety of food that goes well together combined with a lot of flowers and herbs and can be left out for the majority of the event. This was easy and fun to prepare, but also allowed me to enjoy myself during the party. If you are hesistant to try an entire grazing table, consider doing a couple of grazing platters.
Components of Creating a Grazing Table:
I did a basic meat/cheese with a variety of crackers, breads, dips, olives, veggies, fruits, nuts and sweets. As you can probably guess, this would be super easy to make vegetarian or vegan, in fact, outside of the meat and cheese, all of my ingredients were vegan.
Other theme ideas:
Greek – a Greek grazing table would be awesome, humus, feta, dalmas, gyros, Greek salad, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, and pita bread. Other grazing table ideas could be Italian, Hamburger/Hotdog (think 4th of July and wrap the burgers and hotdogs in brown paper or foil to keep warm) or a sweets only table.
Amount of Food / Type of Food
I tried to think in terms of food that would go bad after a few hours and food that wouldn’t. For example, cut or baby carrots start to look bad after a few hours where veggies like broccoli and cauliflower don’t. Dense crackers hold up longer than pretzels and other chips. Also, consider covering your bread in a basket.
Fresh Flowers and Herbs
This is very important and will make you table shine. Try to find a nice combination of colors that complement each other or relate to the occasion, like red white and blue for the 4th of July. Consider using small vases in various heights, being careful to not enhance the table and not overshadow the food.
Creating your table:
-Cover your table with brown parchment paper
-Gather a variety of platter, bowls, mugs that can be used to create depth to the table
-Wash and chop all your veggies and fruit
-Layout where main items (meat or cheese in my case), will be and then add the flowers, and then start filling in with the veggies, fruit and nuts
Tips – Try not to place any vases on a raised plate or board that could be knocked over by little ones reaching for something on top…We had a small spill but it wasn’t too bad..
If you have some large gaps, use whole heads of broccoli or cauliflower, whole fruits -even a whole watermelon would look great…even though it won’t get eaten. Those type of veggies or whole fruits won’t spoil and can be used later.
Here’s mine, I really liked how it turned out and a bonus, there were lot’s of leftover veggies!