Since the advent of social media like Pinterest and Instagram our fascination of taking photos of our food has boomed, and a clear favourite is the grazing table. Long are the days of putting out a couple of platters of cheese and antipasto, now every wedding or birthday must have a work of art that is worthy of photographic glory.
While these grazing masterpieces look amazing there are several things to consider especially when it comes to food safety and practicality.
When you or a vendor are setting up a grazing table it is important to remember it will take time and usually it will be set up at least an hour before anyone is likely to partake in its offerings. You will want to make sure you or the vendor are not using any items that should be served at fridge temperature like certain cheeses. If you are using a vendor question them about their food safety training as they will be picking, packing, transporting, and handling all your food for your event.
If you are setting it up outside, then you have the heat of the day and insects to think about. No one wants to eat sweaty cheese or meats; you may want to consider concealing icepacks under vulnerable foods. If it is forecast to be a hot day you would be better off moving your table inside. You can buy little fans that stand upright to deter flies and bugs, but you may want to consider covering your table until you are ready to serve. It’s also a good idea to have someone keep an eye on the table especially if there are young children around as we all know they like trying things, but if they don’t like it, they tend to put it back where they found it.
On the practical side of things there are a few things to consider, firstly are people going to want to eat from what is essentially a buffet table, yes you have plates and tongs for guests to use and it all looks so good, but we are still in pandemic times and some guest may not want to graze with other guests. One of the biggest things is the cost and the amount of wastage, look at your budget and compare having a grazing table where your guest must leave their conversations and mingling to go and get something to eat, to having similar foods offered by catering staff serving your guest where they are. So often people say they didn’t eat much because they were talking all night.