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Grazing Boards

Grazing Boards

As we enjoy the last few weeks of summer, many of us might be growing tired of rainy picnics and garden parties, but hopefully not bored of grazing boards. These have been a party favourite for the last couple of years after exploding  on social media. This year’s Grammy Awards even featured them, and if it’s good enough for J-Lo, it’s good enough for us!

Firstly, what do you need to get involved with this craze – besides food, of course. Any wooden chopping board will do as the surface will be mostly covered once served, and the wooden edges can create a rustic style. For other styles of board, light coloured serving platters or black slates can give a more polished finish. Ramekins and small bowls are also vital, but you can easily improvise. Old jam jams, or dessert pots, for example, can work well too.
To understand what differentiates a grazing board from other food platters is simple – presentation. They can be highly individual, with cheese, charcuterie, breads, fruits, vegetables, or any other indulgent selection of favourites. What is key is the appearance of the board, with filling up every inch of space certainly a popular style. Preparing the board shortly before serving can help retain that fresh look, whilst using small ramakins to hold dips or olives/nuts another way to elevate the look of fullness. Think Roman feast – experiment with bundling any cured meats into nests or rolls to create interesting shapes and patterns. Alongside the fresh produce and cured meats, be sure to scatter carbohydrate elements, and intriguing chutneys and pickles. Take a look at our selection online for some ideas.

We’re all familiar with the struggle of balancing a canapé on a napkin whilst holding a glass in one hand and cocktail stick in the other, but grazing boards try and eliminate this problem. Everything should be easy to pick up. For example, larger fruits such as figs should be cut up into beautiful bite-sized pieces. Vibrancy and colour on grazing boards is not only a visual enhancement but can help your guests identify what exactly what they are looking at. For example, use a variety cheeses – not ones that all look/or taste the same! The perfect balance could be our Stilton, with our Comte, and our Buffalo Mozzarella.
What is so unique about grazing boards, and has probably contributed to their rise in popularity on social media, is the inventiveness of their creators. Impressive seafood platters, breakfast boards, and most indulgent of all, dessert grazing tables, have wowed foodies and inspired a trend of wedding and party caterers. To get some great recommendations regarding each of these forms of grazing boards, have a look here.
Meanwhile, here are some suggestions for possible combinations to get you started...
If you’re looking for something spicy...
Try dotting some ramakins of our Jalapeno Jam and Lemon Drop Chilli Jam, around some fantastic Isle of Mull Cheddar. These vibrant jams look fantastic on a grazing board, and offer a great fusion of spicy and sweet flavours which can be delicately offset by this tangy cheddar. To wrap it all together, a plain cracker would be the perfect accompaniment.
If you’re looking for something sweet...
Grazing boards certainly don’t need to contain cold foods only – and some sticky cocktail sausages cooked in honey and mustard can be a crowd-pleaser. Our lightly spiced free range pork sausages are a great option. To accompany this, scatter figs and plums to add to the variety of sweet yet rich flavours.
If you’re looking for something salty...
Seafood grazing boards are certainly unique and can be the most luxurious-looking, and rely on a good selection of salty sides. Finely sliced Gravadlax looks beautiful surrounded by lemon segments, sprigs of dill, and rye bread. For some extra seaside saltiness, add small bowls filled with capers, cornichons, and pickled red onion.

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