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How to make the perfect grazing table: Buffet board and platter ideas for festive parties

9 December 2021, 13:51

Impress your guests with a stunning grazing table
Impress your guests with a stunning grazing table. Picture: Alamy
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

If you have guests coming over during the festive period - or just fancy creating a picky tea that is a real feast for the senses - why not have a go at making a grazing table

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Believe it or not, there is something more exciting to see waiting for you at a party than a buffet - a Hollywood-style 'grazing table'.

Beloved by celebs, it's a similar concept only there are no packets of food laid out side by side, meat, bread, cheese, dips, fruit and vegetables are graciously and generously laid out to create a very colourful and multi-textured feast for the eyes (and tummy).

But you don't need a 10 foot table and £400 food shop to try out this trend at home, just grab a large chopping board or serving platter.

The best thing about grazing platters is that they can be as big or small as you need, so whether you are catering for a large number of people or just want to do something a bit different for a picky tea one night you can make it work for you.

READ NOW: Check out Toby Carvery's breakfast buffet... with Yorkshire puddings filled with baked beans

A grazing platter, table or board is a very modern twist on a traditional buffet
A grazing platter, table or board is a very modern twist on a traditional buffet. Picture: Alamy

The experts at Virtually Together have shared some of their top tips for making the perfect platter with Heart, which we hope will inspire you to give it a go at home (if you do, please tweet us a picture @thisisheart!)

The most important things to remember when making a grazing board for your party is that you want there to be pops of colour, a variety of shapes and no space left inside your design.

These details will make your board look enticing, delicious and of course, totally Instagrammable. 

READ NOW: Imaginative recipes to use up Christmas Day leftovers

A grazing board is perfect for a night in front of the TV with a few glasses of wine
A grazing board is perfect for a night in front of the TV with a few glasses of wine. Picture: Alamy

1. Pick your ingredients

Not sure what to put on there? How about a few of these...

  • Salami
  • Parma Ham
  • Bresaola
  • Manchego
  • Cheddar
  • Brie 
  • Almonds 
  • Cornichons 
  • Pickled Onions
  • Grapes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Kiwi
  • Rosemary Sprigs
  • Celery
  • Chutney
  • A variety of crackers
This is a great example of a grazing table - but you can try a much smaller version
This is a great example of a grazing table - but you can try a much smaller version. Picture: Alamy

2: Grab a wooden board

The size of your board will depend on the size of your party, but don’t worry about leftovers as all of these ingredients can be placed in a covered bowl in the fridge and last for another few days.

3: Prep prep prep

Use cocktail sticks to place your fanned meats, crumbly cheese and chopped fruits onto - they are easier for your guests to pick up - and easier to place on to the grazing board.

READ NOW: Can you identify the 24 festive foods and drinks hidden in this brainteaser?

Virtually Together made a Christmas tree on this board
Virtually Together made a Christmas tree on this board. Picture: Virtually Together

4: Get creative

Make sure you have a variety of textures and colours across your layers of food.

Make sure every layer is packed full without any gaps so that you can’t see the board underneath - imagine you're painting a picture with charcuterie, crudités and cheese.

Don't forget to also provide breads and crackers, either as part of the layout or beautifully presented close by.

A sprinkling of nuts and seeds is a beautiful finishing touch
A sprinkling of nuts and seeds is a beautiful finishing touch. Picture: Alamy

5: Finishing touches

Decorate your board with food carriers to entice people to tuck in. Add extra touches such as rosemary to leave a beautiful aroma and add an extra layer of depth.

6: Show it off

Take a photo and share your creation on Instagram!