How do you like to entertain? Is a cocktail party your thing? Maybe dinner parties are something you love to do. For me, I love to have friends and family over for brunch! Brunch is such a fun meal to serve considering that almost any food goes. Of course, standard breakfast offerings like eggs, bacon, and waffles are appropriate, but so are savory dishes that we associate more with a lunch or dinner menu. Setting up a brunch buffet is definitely an easy and pleasing way to serve your guests. It allows your guests to serve themselves, while giving you, the host, more time to enjoy your party rather than preparing foods and serving throughout the event. This year, for Easter, I plan to take the buffet to a new level by creating a “grazing table!” A grazing table is such a fun and easy way to serve food, and they work for almost any occasion.
It seems like everywhere I look these days, charcuterie boards are all the rage when it comes to entertaining. What is a Grazing table? A grazing table is basically a charcuterie board gone wild. Grazing tables are tables brimming with all kinds of food where people can help themselves or “graze” slowly, trying a little bit of everything on the table. It’s usually a table, but it can even be a large platter, wooden board, counter, or just any large and flat surface. Food items aren’t always contained on plates or in bowls, but arranged artfully in piles that spill, overlap and intertwine into each other, so it doesn't just taste delicious, it also looks delicious. The key thing to remember here is: organised chaos. They should be styled to give the appearance of abundance and to show off the beauty of the food.
Some of the things I love about the grazing table idea:
- You can do most or all of the prep ahead of time before guests arrive. There’s no cooking to do while your event is happening.
- Grazing tables encourage guests to mingle, try a whole bunch of different foods, and they can be a great conversation starter!
- They are visually beautiful, and they give a party or event that WOW factor that people will be talking about after the event is over.
- This style of eating is very casual and laid back, so it gives that feeling to a party which makes guests comfortable.
- Guests help themselves, so the host isn’t running around serving everyone.
- Best of all: with all the work to set up a grazing table done before an event, the host gets to enjoy the event too, have a few cocktails, and relax!
To get started, figure out what you are going to put all your food on. Will you need more than one, where you will place your grazing table, etc? Choose the main focus of your breakfast platter. Something as simple as waffles and bacon or berries and breads could serve as the main theme to start you off. Things like muffins, croissants, bagels, scones, pickled veggies, cured meats, cheeses, crackers, and seasonal fruits are all great brunch additions. Choose items that compliment your main dish and are also easy to prepare or purchase.
Next, choose some other items that you want to include like toppings, Bellisari’s sauces and spreads, other condiments, and garnishes. Figure out how you will arrange it on the platter. Do you need bowls? Small plates? Serving utensils?
Finally, create your plan of attack for cooking the things you need to cook and buying the things you need to buy. Make a grocery list, and also make a plan for making the food. Will you make it ahead of time or the day of and reheat?
I hope I’ve ignited your creativity and you have imaginative ideas flowing for how you would do this kind of entertaining. I’d love to hear about what you think would make an outstanding spread of this type and how you might make it even better. Happy Easter and happy spring grazing from all of us at Bellisari’s!