Truly Fabulous Graze Board
Looking for a way to wow guests at a dinner party or having your own Friday night cocktails and canapés extravaganza? I humbly suggest this epic grazing board.
What Makes an excellent appetizer board?
I consider 4 things essential when I’m putting together an appetizer plate - beauty, ease of access, variety of textures, and something for everyone.
Beauty is the easiest - you want to get a mix of colors and seasonal produce happening on the tray. Don’t just set out three hunks of cheese and call it done - go for a little flair and drama! Get some colorful berries or olives, use several kinds of fruit, or cut things in unexpected shapes. Remember that the eye likes odd numbers. Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to screw it up because people, and I can’t stress this enough, love appetizers.
Ease of access means that you’ve got stuff people can easily pick up. Don’t put a massive cluster of grapes on your board because people don’t want to try to figure out how to pull a few off while other people hover behind them trying to get at the cheese. People are awkward weirdos at the beginning of a party (which is why we serve appetizers) so make it as easy for them as possible. Keep your nibbles small and easy to grab.
Having a variety of textures is important both visually and flavor-wise. Have a crunchy nut or cracker along with a soft cheese is incredibly pleasing. Think about adding both tender fruit and something with a little bite.
Parties are about the people, so having something for everyone is inclusive and kind. You might not like almonds or olives or blue cheese, but lots of people do, so think about serving items outside your comfort zone that you know your friends might enjoy. I’m not saying you need to serve something you are religiously or ethically uncomfortable with, but go a little wild with the appetizers and save the safe stuff for the main meal.
Notes on Choosing Cheeses
In every other situation I will tell you to serve an odd number of something, but I think a great cheese plate has 4 types of cheese: hard, aged, soft, and blue.
For hard cheese, I love to serve manchego or pecorino. I like an aged cheddar or gouda and for the soft cheese I’d go with brie or camembert. Finally, for the blue cheese my go to is a roquefort. If you are anti-blue cheese, please read this article from Bon Appetit and consider one of their options.
I hope you enjoy putting together your graze board/appetizer tray! Feel free to share the beauty of what you put together with me over on Instagram, you can find me @thishealthytable.