Looking for a creative dining option for your upcoming holiday party that is not only functional, but also visually stunning? Consider designing a holiday grazing table! Grazing tables are colorful tablescapes of meats and cheeses, crudité, fruits, nuts, and various finger food options; they are basically charcuterie boards on a larger scale.
These spreads, occasionally called “feasting tables,” are perfect for large hosted events such as weddings, showers, and holiday parties because they can replace traditional buffets or hors d’oeuvres stations. In addition to being a central focal point of your event, grazing tables also make wonderful gathering spots where guests can mingle as they sample from the various food options.
If you’re interested in trying out a grazing table for your upcoming Christmas party or hosted event, read on for some tips and recipes, along with other accompaniment ideas.
* * *
How to Prepare a Holiday Grazing Table
When planning the selections for your grazing table, we suggest starting with a few (3-4) more substantial prepared food options, then filling in the rest of the table with your accompaniments such as fruits and vegetables, toasts, crackers, cheese, charcuterie, and nuts. This way, you limit the amount of cooking and preparation while also ensuring you have plenty of variety for your guests.
Here are some ideas for “focal point” recipes
Cranberry-Almond Baked Brie
Baked brie is a beloved appetizer choice for many families during the holiday season. This recipe takes it a step further into Christmas territory with a festive cranberry sauce topping garnished with almond slivers.
Consider serving your baked brie on decorative stone platter or a mini cast iron skillet, with toasted triangles of assorted Martin’s Bread and Rolls and a knife for spreading.
Tri-Colored Ricotta Crostini
This stunning hors d’oeuvres fits right in with our Christmassy color scheme and, as an added bonus, is surprisingly simple to make! The crostini are made from flattened and toasted Martin’s Hoagie Rolls, topped with ricotta cheese and one of the following toppings (1/3 of each):
1) Basil-infused olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper,
2) Cherry tomato and basil salad,
3) Wilted kale salad with dried cranberries.
Cranberry Meatball Sliders
Who doesn’t love a good meatball option at a dinner party? These mini meatball sliders make a convenient finger food option for those wanting something a bit more substantial than fruit and cheese. The sauce is a seasonal variation on the popular “southern-style” meatballs—with cranberry sauce in place of the traditional grape jelly.
Bacon Pecan Cheeseball
Spreadable cheese balls are a super easy way to add a burst of flavor and intrigue to your grazing table. Just mix together a few soft cheeses like cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and/or crumbled blue cheese, add in some minced green onion, garlic powder, or diced pimentos, then roll it in crumbled bacon, crushed pecans, and chopped parsley for a festive finishing touch.
Serve your cheese ball with some assorted Martin’s Breads, flattened and baked, and a knife for spreading.
* * *
How to Stylize Your Holiday Grazing Table
Just as with the food selection process, we suggest first focusing on your larger “focal point” foods when it comes time to arrange your grazing table, and then filling in the extra negative space with the rest of your accompaniments. This ensures you have space for all of your main items; plus—items like cheese, charcuterie, or fruit can easily be replenished later, as needed.
Here are additional grazing options to complete your table arrangement:
Fruit and Cheese Christmas Tree
Arrange sliced or whole fruit, along with cubed cheese, layered in the shape of a Christmas tree, and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and green leaf lettuce.
Charcuterie and Cheese Assortment
Fan out various selections of cured meats and cheeses for guests to create their own sample pairings. Try meat options such as pepperoni, salami, smoked or summer sausage, and cheeses like cubed or sliced cheddar, Colby jack, mozzarella, or swiss.
Crostini, Rolls, and Crackers
Be sure to have plenty of bread and cracker options for people to use with their meat and cheese pairings. Try arranging these in a fun pattern around the other items on the table. (See examples above and below.)
Dips and Spreads
Include spreads such as butter, hummus, honey, or fruit jams, all of which are great accompaniments with cheese, cured meats, and fruit.
Bonus tip: hollowed out bell peppers make perfect cups for spreads like hummus!
Layer some assorted raw veggies as an easy, healthy way to add an infusion of color to your grazing table. Look for bright, vibrant options such as snow peas, purple cauliflower, red and green bell peppers, carrots, celery, and broccoli.
Bonus: Get festive by arranging your veggies into a wreath shape surrounding your dipping sauce, like we did with the above Snow Pea Holiday Wreath!
Fruits are a must—they add a bright burst of color and flavor to your grazing table and are great for light snacking during the holiday season. Look for fresh citrus such as oranges, clementines, grapefruit, or lemons (as decoration only), grapes, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and seasonal favorites like pomegranates or pears. (See examples above and below.)
Nuts, Olives, or Cornichons
Sprinkle nuts like pecans, peanuts, or unshelled pistachios around your table to fill in any remaining blank space after your other items have been added. These make for easy grazing options as the party goes on and pair well with your cheese and charcuterie.
Fresh Herbs as Garnish
Stems of fresh sage, sprigs of rosemary, and even green leaf lettuce, all make great finishing touches for your holiday grazing table!
* * *
What would you include on your Holiday Grazing Table? Add your thoughts in the comments below, or chat with us on social media!
Our latest content, delivered straight to your inbox.
Be the first to hear about our newest recipes, tips, and company updates!