The great thing about a cheese board or grazing platter is you can easily put one together regardless of your cooking abilities. Be as creative or simple as you like. The more rustic and free it looks, the better! Of course if you're running out of time you can always order a pre-assembled or self-assemble antipasto platter from us. We've even got some sweet and savoury cheese boxes that you could have delivered right to your door.
Here are some tips and tricks we've collected along the way to help you put together your own cheese board or grazing platter...
Things to consider when planning:
Is the board something to eat prior to a main meal or is it the meal? (This will determine how much you will need)
Work out how many people you are catering for?
What combination are you having: Cheese and fruit or antipasto?
Any allergy requests – Gluten free, nut free, dairy free……
Think about what's in season at the moment, and remember that quality over quantity always wins
Also consider the size of the board you want to use when deciding on quantities to buy. After you've assembled these a few times you'll get more comfortable estimating the amount of things needed but to start off with, buy a little extra of things to fill the gaps (berries etc) just in case
What kind of board will you use?
You don't have to have a slab of marble or a dedicated grazing board
Alternatives are chopping boards, baking trays, bread boards
If you're unsure of the surface you can line it with baking paper or Glad Wrap
If you're not traveling with it, you can even serve it on a table or bench by laying down paper first. Brown paper lends itself to writing little messages directly onto the paper, labelling which food or cheese is what. Consider you would be more likely to serve things in little containers like ramekins etc. if laying directly onto a surface like this.
The platter we put together (see components above) was designed to feed about 6-8 people as grazing before a main meal.
Fruit – Strawberries, grapes, watermelon, pear, fig….stick to things that are seedless if possible, and also bite sized makes things easier for your guests. Things look great if they're still on the vine (e.g. grapes/cherry tomatoes)
Dips 1 or 2 depends how many people.
Olives (no pits!)
Cheese – About 50-60g per person if platter is an appetizer and they will graze for about an hour. If your guests are cheese fiends then keep this in mind! Three varieties is a good middle ground. Choose different types as not everyone loves a blue cheese for example. Kinds include soft, blue, cheddar, cows or goats, wash rind and the list goes on.
Biscuits, crackers, bread, bread sticks, baked pita breads. Think about the dips you're buying, if they're thick make sure you have strong crackers to handle it
Fruit pastes: Quince, fig, plum
Easy Gap Fillers
Extra nuts, pretzels
Herb sprigs are pretty
Extra berries (we used blueberries to fill in our gaps)
Flowers or gum leaves can also look gorgeous
Chocolate broken into pieces
Keep in mind you don't have to put out all the cheese at once. Keeping some in the fridge to replenish as you go is a great idea.
Some fruits (e.g. apple & pear) will go brown when exposed to air. We stacked our sliced pear to help with this. You can also use a brush of water or lemon juice to stop them browning quickly.
When it comes to dips, at the very least, remove the lids to encourage people to start grazing. You don't have to move dips to other containers (ramekins etc)...we didn't! But it will look more rustic or homemade if you do.
If using fresh fruit wash and dry all your fruit.
Always bring cheese to room temperate a few hours prior to guess coming.
Make sure there's napkins nearby, and also a little bowl here and there where people can put things like the top green part of the strawberries that they won't eat...this will help keep things looking neat and clean as your guests graze
Ramekins, small baking tins, saucers, shot glasses etc are examples of things that can help hold the components if you want to mix up the rustic wandering look with a few different height levels
Also consider if some items might need utensils to help serve...cheese knives, little forks and knives, toothpick etc.
The Nitty Gritty
If you're looking for actual amounts in grams per person when putting together a platter this is isn't a perfect science and something you will get the feel of as you assemble more platters but...
A good rule of thumb is people tend to eat 3-5 appetizers an hour so that would equal about...
3 crackers, 30-60g of fruit/veg, 60g of cheese, 50g of chocolate and 50g of dip....per person, per hour, roughly estimated
You might like this book (find in-store) for inspiration as you go!
"This beautiful book contains 10 different themed boards and platters, perfect for your next grazing get-together. Choose from a luscious cheese or antipasti board, a pretty morning or afternoon tea platter, a Middle-Eastern feast or a sweet pavlova board. There are also delectable selections for vegetarians and seafood lovers. We show you how to build the perfect grazing board to impress your guests every time."
The pops of colour in this salad are beautiful, but are well and truly outdone by the flavour. Strawberries so often seem to belong in dessert recipes but they bring a lovely fresh sweetness to salads, complimented by a good Raspberry Vinegar dressing.
Once you've ordered your Bendigo Christmas Ham, you need a recipe to go with it. A quick Google can easily overwhelm you as there's so many "best christmas ham recipe" suggestions to scroll through. I've shared mine here. I love this recipe because it's not intimidating and it mostly uses pantry staples and easy to find ingredients.
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