A few weeks back I was hosting a party for my boyfriend’s birthday and we were expecting a large number of guests to pass by over the course of a few hours. With people coming in and out at varies times it was difficult to plan what hour to order the food and when to have it arrive in time for *most* of the people to be there.
I took to Pinterest in search for food displays, different snacks and ways that I could house some snack foods on trays while guests came through the party. What I came across was something unexpected and actually became the highlight of the party! This is like the best charcuterie board meets standing buffet.
This was the first time I (or my guests – we’re from the US) had seen anything like it, and from my research the idea seems to come from Australia. Either way, the grazing table is HEAPS of fun to put together and made my dinner party a smash hit as people stayed longer lingering for hours taking from the table and munching! I love to keep my guests happy and this takes the pressure off of serving everyone as they can enjoy at their own speed!
Clear off a table you intend to use. First, I rip off the handles of my Trader Joes (or Whole Foods ) bags and lay them down flat (without the logo visible).
I like to position my plates, trays, cups, saucers and napkins first. Spread them out across the table at different distances and heights. Heights add depth to your completed grazing table so be sure to perch some trays or plates a little higher than others. You can then “tuck” napkins under the trays so that they are easy to grab for guests.
Next, I like to lay out some crackers, dry goods, and meats. Take your time spreading crackers delicately around the trays and plates you have set. Place pretzel sticks or bread sticks in a cup so that they stand upright. Slowly add from the center of the table outward using different dry foods to create a colorful medley. Place different colors next to one another to really *pop*. Leave room for the colder foods like cheese and veggies.
Now is a good time to position or stage the decorations for the table. This can include flowers in cups, candles (don’t light them just yet), wreaths, small pumpkins, garland, and flowers!
Clean all of your veggies and chop them in to small pieces. Make sure you take your time and cut all of the cheeses into small grabbable pieces as well. Except for Brie, which should be left alone in a circle with an accompanying knife. Add veggies and cheeses in last. I like to keep a partial batch in the fridge in tupper ware for later. If during the party, the table is looking low – you can “fill” in places that need extra from this secret batch.
Add the finishing touches on your grazing table by lighting candles (beware that they don’t set any papers or decor on fire). I like to go over and add spoons to any dips that need it and lay out my cutlery, forks, knives or plates in a snack neatly on the corner so that guests can grab them easily. Place wines and glasses in a place they won’t be knocked over, but are easy to hand to guests as they arrive.
And you’re done! Don’t forget to wear something chic and host your heart out.
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