The beauty of a well-styled grazing platter goes beyond good looks. An abundant board can sustain your guests without the need for a main meal and provides an inviting way for people to come together and celebrate. While the thought of where to start may be overwhelming, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help your platter planning.
Food photographer and stylist Jennifer Jenner, also known as blogger 84th&3rd, shares her tips for creating a gloriously good grazing platter that will please your eyes and your tastebuds.
Make it filling
A vegetarian grazing platter will be filled to the brim with colourful fruit and veg, but that doesn’t need to be all! Pick two or three main dishes that work well as individual or mini-servings. Veggie sausage rolls or frittata bites are a great way to feed a crowd. When you’re ready to start styling, place these larger items first. Make them the focal point of your platter and then fill in the remaining spaces.
Remove any plastics
Anything prepacked like crackers can be removed from their containers into dishes. When it comes to dishes, anything goes—from ceramic ramekins to clean jars!
Choose seasonal fruit and veg with staying power
Aim for a good mix of seasonal fruit and veg for dipping and eating.
For veggies, it’s best to use firm and crisp varieties that are easy to grab and will also retain their freshness. Think carrots, capsicum, baby corn and green beans.
For fruit, choose varieties that won’t brown easily such as grapes, strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries. Dried fruit is also a good option that will last and pairs well with other ingredients like cheeses.
Mind the gaps
Fill in open spaces around main plates, cracker stacks and dip bowls with berries, nuts and smaller-cut veggies. Don’t forget to add a few flourishes at the end—such as fresh herbs and edible flowers—to make your platter feel generous and bountiful.
Prepping your platter
Have a plan. Start by choosing a board size (or mix of boards) to suit your ingredients. You want it to look abundant, but not too crowded. Grazing platters can be arranged on a single board or you can group together multiple boards and plates to form a central arrangement.
Get theming. While this isn’t mandatory, focusing on a theme, whether it’s colour-based, culture-focused, or meal-type, can help to pull otherwise disparate items together into a lush platter. Any props or colours should tie-in with your theme too.
The power of three. Where possible work with odd numbers of similar items, like three small bowls of dips. Odd numbered groups are more visually appealing than even numbers. Using smaller groups of plates and dishes on top of your board also creates multiple elements and can keep unwieldy ingredients like olives together.