Christmas is hands down my favourite holiday as it's filled with treasured moments with our loved ones as well as endless comfort food! As we all know Christmas generally boasts a feasting style of eating, which got me thinking about a healthier, lighter and easier way to celebrate all the joyous festivities. After a lengthy and fruitless brainstorm I finally came to the conclusion that one could not go past the much loved and crowd pleasing, veggie packed grazing spread.
The grazing style of eating is one of the many perfect ways to bring people together as it's simple, delicious and a flavour utopia. What more could you want? That being said, Christmas feasting is unfortunately known for it's stressful ways and chaotic moments. But not to fear. the humble grazing platter is here! In true Christmas spirit I'm excited to share my go-to ingredients and tip to help you create the ultimate festive, healthy spread.
Here's a basic shopping guide to get you on your way... Cheese (3 to 4 varieties)
Soft cheese such as brie or camembert
Firm cheese such as cheddar or gouda
Strong stinky cheese such as a blue
Grapes, berries, pomegranate, pears, apples, peaches, cherries etc.
Assorted dried fruits & nuts; including walnuts, cranberries, sultanas, apricots, dates etc.
Assorted sliced loaves, bread sticks and crackers
Assortment of dips and bread sticks/crackers
Cold meats, including a selection of prosciutto, salami & ham
Selection of garnishes (rosemary, parsley & mint)
Now for the tips.... Ingredients are key! Sounds simple right? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of ingredient shopping…BUT remember quality is key. Visit your local farmers markets or an Asian fruit shop for healthy, seasonal produce. Followed by a deli to pick up local quality cheeses and meats. Remember, your goal is to have full, satisfied, happy guests. The happy part will happen naturally when there's quality ingredients - and plenty of them!
Now, Lets begin placing your spread. Time to raid your kitchen for wooden boards, marble platters, bowls, cake stands, mason jars, crates, dishes…everything!! Firstly I use hessian as a base of the table to give a rustic casual feel. Next start building the table by scattering your platters and dishes freely followed by most importantly...your FOOD! I also love to include foliage to add extra colour to the table followed by some garnish, my favourites are; rosemary, mint and parsley.
Get a little crazy! Depending on your style a grazing spread is a perfect way to express it! For me personally, my style is one that has absolutely no structure so I recommend scatter nuts, herbs, berries, crackers and whatever else you feel across your platter/ table. Note: Be mindful when mixing some textures; for example place the soft cheese and meats next to textured crackers and nuts.