Ideal for a creative Easter feast this weekend, here’s how to master the art of the at-home sharing platter
Grazing tables are show-stopping, edible works of art which are perfect for upgrading any food occasion. From beautiful boards for one, to pretty platters for two, they can be created to suit any number of diners.
Cost-effective to make, a grazing board can be crafted by getting creative with whatever you’ve got available in your cupboards – and once you know how, they can be easily created at home.
Importantly, with everything going on in the world at the moment, grazing tables also offer a form of fun escapism and self-care.
Creating a platter gives you a slice of time to put your phone and technology away, rest your mind and create something out of nothing. It really is a meditative and calming process. Give it a try and you’ll get hooked, we promise!
At Easter, to mix things up, we like to tap into the sweet and savoury trend, as recent research has shown that four in 10 (41%) of us now prefer cheese over chocolate.
So, by getting creative and combining sweet with savoury, you can ignite the senses and keep the palate intrigued with a simple platter that pleases everyone.
Creating an at-home platter yourself is easy, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps…
Step One: Get Cheesy
Start with placing the cheese on the board, in the above the image uses Port Salut. If you’re creating a platter for one or two people, we would recommend 1 – 2 wedges of cheese, and for a small sized board which will feed up to 6 people (30 x 30cm board), we recommend 2/3 wedges.
The beauty of using something like a Port Salut wedge is that you can cut and display it in different ways to make each cheese ‘cluster’ or section look intriguing on the platter.
For example, try cutting one wedge into equal strips and laying them down in a ‘fan’ shape on the platter displaying the rich, creamy cheese as well as a little of the beautiful orange rind.
Keep a couple of wedges whole, but place one with the rind completely showing, and another with the creamy cheese showing. This will create depth and intrigue on the platter!
Step Two: Flesh It Out
Next, place your fish and/or meats (if you choose to include). Smoked salmon and prosciutto are perfect parings for a spring platter – the salmon isn’t too overpowering, and its texture and light pink colour lends itself brilliantly to a ‘light but bright’ or ‘Easter’ theme. Salty prosciutto complements but isn’t too overbearing!
Try creating little ‘flowers’ of salmon and prosciutto and place in 2 or 3 distinct areas near to the already placed cheese – this will stop it looking ‘flat’ and will add more texture. Those red/pink hues will already make the platter ‘pop’, and we haven’t even got to the fun part yet!
Step Three: Create with Colour
Next, add your fruits and vegetables – we are talking carefully chopped radishes, carrots, cucumbers, blanched asparagus, cherry tomatoes (yellow and orange if you can) and boiled eggs.
Put simply, you can use whatever produce you have available to you. This (very healthy!) produce will add wonderful colourful elements to the platter, and the green, pink, orange, yellow and white colours just scream Easter and spring!
Wrapping the prosciutto around the asparagus is just divine and a perfect paring! The radishes, cucumber and boiled egg with some smoked salmon is also a match made in heaven on a hearty oat cracker or a bagel.
The crunch of crudités with the smooth creamy Port Salut on a cracker, or on its own, is also perfectly complementary, in both texture and flavour.
Step Four: Sweeten Things Up
So far the platter has only savoury elements, but adding sweet treats onto the platter is not only recommended to bring variety and please those sweet toothed out there, but is very much commonplace with platter/grazing caterers, such as GRAPE&Fig. Cheese is always the hero and tastes delicious when paired with fresh seasonal fruit.
Right now, berries, fresh cherries, figs, sliced grapes and peaches work well as the sweet flavour balances well against the creaminess of the cheese. The tart flavour of homemade pear and cranberry chutney placed on a cracker with a slice of cheese is one to remember too!
Of course, Easter isn’t Easter without sweets and chocolate, so add some broken up Easter eggshells (milk and dark chocolate works well) as your own ‘chocolate bark’ (which taste incredible with some chopped pistachios!), Mini Eggs and Smarties add to the pastel theme of the season but are also perfect to graze on too.
Step Five: It’s Crunch Time
Next add your crunch – hearty oat crackers, bagels and nuts (pistachios are great due to their multicoloured appearance). These may not be the heroes of a platter, but they certainly are essential. Here, quality counts.
Step Six: Go for Garnish
Lastly, garnish your platter to make it super ‘Eastergrammable’ – we’d recommend dill, along with eye-catching Easter flowers such as daffodils, tulips and primrose on a bed of eucalyptus to keep the theme fresh, crisp and very ‘spring-like’. Plus, top tip: once the platter is eaten, you can create a handmade bouquet with the flowers and enjoy for days to come!