Grazing tables are one of the hottest trends in wedding and event catering. In fact, last year Pinterest reported a 163% increase in searches for the term ‘grazing table’ – how crazy is that? Of course, grazing is our speciality at The Curated Kitchen, but if you’re new here, you might be wondering: exactly what IS a grazing table? Where did the graze craze come from? And why are these spreads (also sometimes called feasting tables) such a brilliant alternative wedding catering option for everyone from foodies to vegetarians, to those just wanting to create a feeling of laid back luxury at their event?
So what is a grazing table?
A grazing table, to put it simply, is a decadent upgrade on the traditional buffet. Except that instead of chafing dishes filled with stringy chicken and mushy vegetables, you get an artful arrangement of delicious treats. For example: a selection of charcuterie and cheeses, antipasti, artisan breads and crackers, fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, dips, chutneys and other homemade condiments, and snacks like olives and nuts. It’s designed for guests to dip into and help themselves, while mingling and getting to know one another (nothing gets people talking like food!). And while the concept of grazing is nothing new (the Romans were famous for their elaborate feasts, for example!), as a modern wedding trend, grazing started in Australia. Those Aussies have perfected the art of boho luxe, and now grazing tables are all the rage in the UK and US too.
Beyond the food, the other key difference between a grazing table and a cheesy buffet is the presentation. A good grazing table should be a feast for the eyes as well as the palette. That’s why I put just as much energy into designing and styling each grazing table as I do into making it delicious. To do so, I use a collection of beautiful serving platters (both modern and heirloom) and arrange them using different heights, colours, textures, and other compositional features. It’s like creating a work of art! Even though grazing tables are a casual style of dining, it’s still important for them to have a sense of occasion, especially at a wedding. You also want your grazing table to have that Insta-worthy wow factor!
What are the benefits?
For one thing, having a grazing table at your wedding is extremely versatile. While many couples choose to have them as an alternative to canapés at cocktail hour, others make them the main event. (Perfect for a boho wedding!) They also work beautifully as late night wedding food, or as an alternative to dessert with a special version of the grazing table groaning with sweet treats.
Grazing tables are also a good wedding catering option if you’d like your wedding to have an eco-conscious focus, or if you follow a plant-based diet. I always source seasonal ingredients from local suppliers, lowering your carbon footprint, and can customise any spread to focus on vegan or vegetarian foods. You can even skip the meat altogether – your guests will be so busy enjoying the yummy plant-based options that they may not even notice! It’s also helpful for those who have food allergies, as they can pick and choose which items to put on their plates.
But the best thing about grazing tables for me is how they create a real dining experience for your guests. It’s something they’ll be talking about long after the wedding!
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