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Why we’re totally into the graze craze

02 May 2017

Grazing tables are emerging as the hippest thing in entertaining. Here’s why we love them and insider tips for creating truly abundant spreads.  Words:Jessica Zoiti

The grazing table concept is hardly new. Way back in the 1st century (AD), the Romans were renowned for their frivolous feasting – Emperor Vitellius famously produced the enormously proportioned Shield of Minerva, a platter piled high with the like of livers, pheasant brains, flamingo tongues and other exotic ingredients considered luxuries back in the day.

Medieval feasts were equally elaborate and featured tables laden with wild game, vegetables, fish, breads and desserts.
Traditions and tastes may have changed (we cant say flamingo tongues sound too appealing) however, the desire to celebrate through an abundant spread shared among friends and family is as strong as ever. People are really drawn to the grazing table concept because its an incredibly easy way to cater to a large group of people, and its also very social,explains Jess Wood, Catering Manager at The Black Truffle.They encourage guests to move around and mingle, cater to a wide variety of tastes, and are often a really great conversation starter.

Like those Medieval masterpieces, todays grazing table is often a feast for the eyes as much as it is the palette. The best are often themed and boast an array of textures, flavours and foods that are manageable to eat.

A great grazing table will always feature high-quality ingredients that work well with one another, and offer a variety of textures and flavours, believes Jess. We can work with any theme but we really love to create rustic tables featuring crusty French sticks, pickles, roasted vegetables, an assortment of cheeses, charcuterie, antipasto, olives, nuts, crackers and fresh fruits.

But the true secret to our grazing tables success is the extras – we play very close attention to the flow of the food and the additional props that give our tables their wow factor, Jess explains.

Here are some of Jess other top tips for creating a winning grazing table:

1.Theme

Choose a theme and then stick to it. For example, if you want to create a rustic, Mediterranean grazing table, select foods, serving platters and props that reflect the region.

2.Table size

Make sure your table isn’t too small. Your guests wont enjoy jostling for space around your spread. Likewise, if the table is too large, you’ll need to adequately cover it, if you want your grazing selection to have that wow factor.

3.Height

Successful grazing tables are three-dimensional. Add height to avoid your spread looking flat and lifeless.

4.Flow

Like a buffet, your table should have a natural flow that guides people from one dish to the next. Make sure colours and textures dont clash.

5.Utensils

ALWAYS provide serving utensils for each element on the grazing table so guests dont have to use their fingers.

6.Replenish

Make sure you have stock in reserve to replenish dishes if they run low.

7. Shelf-life

Grazing tables featuring seafood and meat wont be able to sit out in the open all day. Time your table so as many guests as possible will be able to enjoy it, before you need to pack it away.

8. The name game

Have unusual elements on your grazing table? Create cute signs offering brief descriptions of your dishes.

Grazing table food ideas

Assorted breads and crackers, cold meats including prosciutto, salami, ham and mortadella, pickled vegetables, olives and marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses including blue, soft white rind, semi-soft and cheddar, and assorted dried fruits, nuts and fresh fruit.

Rather let someone else do the work?

Rather have an expert do the leg work? The Black Truffles grazing tables are abundant works of art but best of all, they are totally bespoke. Our grazing tables are a beautifully designed selection of gourmet cheeses, premium cold meat cuts and antipasto selection. They always add that wow factor to parties, corporate events… any occasion, really! All our Grazing tables are customised to suit the needs of our customers, says Jess.

To discuss your grazing table requirements, contact Jess at The Black Truffle, catering@theblacktruffle.com.au.

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