Whether a birthday party, wedding, New Year’s Eve, Oktoberfest or a housewarming: a buffet is suitable for many occasions. If you want the food to look opulent and impressive on your buffet, you could set up a grazing table. And as a bonus, you don’t even have to cook! Because actually this is a cold buffet, i.e. finger food that lasts well for a certain time at room temperature. Cheese, sausage products, bread, dips, raw vegetables, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, olives and pickles are usually served. With a little planning, you can easily prepare a buffet with a WOW factor yourself. Today we give you some ideas for a cold buffet and reveal more about the grazing tables.
What exactly is a grazing table?
This hot trend in event catering is not exactly new. In medieval palaces, mountains of food were set up for large festivals, which guests could sample at will. A year or two ago, a modern version of the buffet began to take off in Australia and New Zealand. Now the grazing tables are conquering the whole world and are a hit on Pinterest.
Usually this is a large table with lots of visually appealing dishes on it. They are not in bowls or plates, but are piled lavishly on top of each other on trays or boards. Decadent, but still casual. It’s a really flexible concept that suits a wide variety of events, guest numbers, locations, themes, and budgets.
And if that’s not enough, there is another advantage: the low-maintenance structure of the buffet enables the host to spend more time with his guests. After all, parties are a lot more fun when you’re actually there, not in the kitchen.
Plan the party buffet properly
First of all, you need to decide on the shape and size of the table. Is it big enough to hold everything? For example, you can assume that you can serve a cold buffet for around 15 to 30 people on a table with a plate size of 100 x 100 cm. However, you can use layers to create more space on the table. If the table is larger than necessary, you can add a few decorative elements to keep it from looking empty.
The location of the table is also very important. Your buffet table should be set up so that it can be accessed by several guests at once. But it shouldn’t stand in the way either.
Questions to ask yourself when planning a cold buffet:
– How long can the food be kept at room temperature? Or outside if the event is taking place outdoors.
– Is everything easy to see on the table? Handwritten cards can be added for foods that require explanation.
– Is it easy for several guests to meet at the table at the same time?
– Have you added a variety of savory, salty, spicy and sweet elements?
– Do you need forks or spoons? Are there enough serving utensils?
– Is everything accessible or are certain decorative elements in the way?
Suggestions for a cold buffet
While taste is always an important factor, this is where you should also think about aesthetics. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, bread and crackers with shapes, artfully folded meat specialties, as well as lively dips and sauces add to the visual appeal of the table.
Look for a good variety. For example, choose a soft brie, a hard and nutty manchego, and a spicy cheddar. Then think about what would go well with each type of cheese. This planning applies not only to your shopping list, but also to your buffet layout. In this way, your guests can easily see which crackers and spreads complement the selected cheese type perfectly.
With Grazing Tables, there are no limits to your imagination. You can do anything you want. The food can be adapted to the party theme or your diet. Vegan, paleo or sugar-free – the possibilities are numerous.
This is how you can arrange your grazing table
Step 1: make a list of all the foods you want to serve
This list helps not only with shopping, but also with the preparation of the buffet. So you have everything in view. Think about whether you want to buy everything yourself or order a catering service instead.
Step 2: now set the table
Now is the time to decide on which platters or trays you want to present your food. To make it look better, you can do without a tablecloth or cover the table with kraft paper.
You can put the food in baskets or put it on cutting boards. And of course you’ll need bowls for dips or spreads. A large, beautiful bowl of punch is a great way to fill the table and add a pop of color. Resist the urge to arrange everything symmetrically. You should get an organized mess.
To add the finishing touch to your grazing table, you can also add a few decorations. Get creative with lots of greenery and flowers, fresh herbs, whole fruits and vegetables, candles, framed works of art or signs, vases – anything that would fit your topic.
Step 3: use layers to create height
Use cake stands or wine boxes to create optical height in the arrangement. Just one or two items are enough. Place larger, noticeable foods – e.g. B. Big cheese wheels – higher to attract the attention of the guests.
Step 4: fill in the blanks
Put foods that combine well together (for example, a brie wheel with pear slices, a crispy baguette, and a jar of fig jam). The ideal grazing table encourages people to move from one end to the other and enjoy various bites.
Once you have most of the dishes on the table, fill in the gaps with nuts, dried fruit, berries, pieces of dark chocolate, or any other small food that you want to sprinkle all over the place. You can also add flowers or other decorations. Although the design is entirely up to you, a traditional grazing table leaves little space available. So you can overcrowd the table. Abundance is a subject that is difficult to overstate.
Feast and save
How you can save money:
– Plan your purchase in advance. Use coupons, watch out for bargains, and pick up fresh goodies at the farmers market.
– Stick to simple recipes like hummus or a sour cream dip.
– Pick a few popular foods that are offered at a lower price, like potato chips and caramel popcorn.
– Opt for some expensive eye-catching groceries and fill the rest of the table with cheaper finds.
– If possible, use decorations from your own home.
You can save time with these tips:
– Choose pre-cut fruits and vegetables that do not require additional preparation.
– Buy pre-made cheese and meat platters.
– Buy jams and spreads in small, adorable jars.
– If you have no idea how to decorate your cold buffet, find a florist in your area who can assist you with the appropriate floral arrangements.