Ever noticed a tablescape packed with artfully arranged meats, cheese, crudité, as well as seasonal fruit, flowers and decorations? That’s a grazing table for you — a relaxed way for you and your guests to mingle without actually cooking and preparing a formal meal. Having seen a rise in popularity in 2019, numerous brands have come up with providing grazing tables for events and occasions now.

Gurmeet R, the co-founder of The Theatric Platter explains, “Grazing tables and platters originated from Australia and is a huge and established trend for years now. Many consumers opt for a good decor set up even for a smaller gathering. Since a lot of people don’t wish to consume the main course, the trend of bite-sized food has seen a rise.”

Grazing platters are wholesome, attractive, and always manage to impress. “An amalgamation of all taste types coming together in a platter that guarantees something for everyone makes it work no matter how mixed your gathering may be. It requires no serving, chopping, or cutting. The new-age idea of hosting aligns with this super easy-going form of food experience at any small to a big event,” explains Nidhi Chandra, the founder of Graiz India, a brand specialising in luxury grazing boxes and tables.

The pandemic only boosted the idea of grazing tables and platters, thanks to intimate gatherings. Manpreet and Anupreet Dhody, co-founders at I’M Wholesome point out that grazing tables, in fact, made people switch from having a buffet. “Even for meals during Diwali, there was a lot of catering that we did which were grazing tables. They were entire meals set up in a pretty format, which led to people switching from having a buffet and instead, opting for a grazing table that was complete and offered everything right from your appetisers to your main course, like a pizza or pasta or a Khao Suey, etc.”

Grazing platters come in a number of sizes and shapes. You can choose from vegetarian to vegan to non-vegetarian platters, including cruelty-free platters and platters for pets, keto special and gluten-free platters,” explains Kanupriya Jain, the founder of Grazing Platters by Kay that offers vegetarian platters with an Indian touch.

Although there are no strict directions you need to follow to make your own grazing table, it can be difficult to know where to start. Chandra opines, “The choice of what you want to put on the table is limitless. The staples are definitely the cheese, fruits, crackers, loaves of bread, and a sweet section. But one can go above and beyond with the type of nibbles they wish to add. We try to balance out the hues of the grazing arrangement. We do follow basic design principles to achieve a unique aesthetic for all our products.”

Megha Rathee, the founder of Platter Life explains, “I like the colour on a board, and cannot stand bland orange-looking cheese boards. So using seasonal ingredients to brighten up a board is something I feel strongly about. I also feel colour schemes can add to themed boards. For Valentine’s, for example, we’ll have a lot more reds and pinks going on the board along with heart-shaped cheeses.”

Chandra explains that the key to enjoying grazing tables is by keeping your old-school buffet etiquettes away. This newest form of catering is changing the feasting style at an event. You may enter a cocktail party to find heaps of gourmet foods artfully presented on a tabletop, with no side of plates to serve in. The idea is to nibble as you please. Pick up a cheese and cracker while you’re at a conversation over a cocktail in your hand. Simply munch through different offerings on the table throughout the evening. This makes the vibe of the gathering chilled out, engaging, and modern. One dramatic grazing table can make any event, small to big, a blockbuster.

The demand, as brands explain, is only rising, as we are still keen on indoor intimate gatherings. Jain says, “I started the venture in January 2021, and we have been shut in between for almost four months due to both coronavirus and travel plans, but I still managed to roll out 80 plus orders. It might not sound much, but I am a home entrepreneur and this was way over my intended target.”Chandra adds, “Since the lockdown, we witnessed an uptake of our grazing products by almost 40 per cent. Increased intimate gatherings and house parties use the Graiz Box/Grazing Tables for hosting, and many choose to bring one as a gift for the host/hostess.”

What To Put On Your Grazing Table

  1. Good quality cheese served at the right temperature — a baked Brie with sourdough in winters is such a good starting
  2. Good quality cold cuts or crudités for a vegetarian audience
  3. Seasonal fruits and veggies give grazing tables that much required colour and charm
  4. Whether it is gluten-free bread, multigrain or garlic roasts, bread-based items are always a good idea to add some volume onto the table
  5. Sweet and savoury, cold and warm, all sorts of dips and preserves are always a good idea. It goes well with everything
  6. Crackers, chips, nachos, roasted almonds, toasties