Afternoon, beautiful people! Now, I’m not gonna lie, today’s post may well be partially inspired by the fact that I have zero food left in my fridge, and am therefore craving everything (you feel me, right?!), but in all seriousness we’re about to delve into a whole load of glorious, abundant, delicious food as we explore the hottest trend in wedding catering: the luxe Grazing Table.
Now, for those of you who’ve been hanging out with us here at FBrides for the long term, you may remember we wrote about this upcoming trend way back in 2015 (read all about it right here!) describing it as ‘an effortless, yet supremely cool alternative to canapés’. Well, things have grown a little since then, and this originally Australasian trend now encompasses the entirety of your wedding catering, from canapés, to the main meal and even dessert.
In essence, it’s a way cooler, visually stunning, decadent alternative to a buffet. Really, there’s no comparison! It’s casual dining at its finest; rich arrays of savoury, sweet, soft fresh fruit, crunchy crackers, creamy cheeses and salty antipasti form a vast landscape. Metre long tables of undulating deliciousness.
It’s an art form (as you’ll see from the images we’ve collected from some of the best in the business!) and one that we can’t wait to see the UK get on board with, but it seems to be one that causes some undue concern from brides and grooms, so we’ve been chatting to one of the UK’s first (and finest) luxe grazing table providers GRAPE & Fig, to ask them some of the most pressing questions about these beautiful platters, in a bid to get you guys on board and confident in this incredible foodie trend…
GRAPE & Fig was born when the lovely Toria married her beau in the Autumn of 2016. They dreamed of a beautiful boho luxe, laid back Australian inspired wedding. They hired the tipis, no problem. They shipped in a van load of gorgeous eucalyptus foliage, again no issues. The food however, they struggled with.
Expensive, tiny beige canapés just wasn’t their thing. Instead, they envisaged metres of sumptuous, stunning and filling grazing boards, as was a growing wedding trend in Australasia. Finding a UK caterer who understood the vision proved very hard, but with a lot of guidance, direction and design they nailed their own catering brief, and consequently decided to fill that gap in the UK wedding market – and so the seed of GRAPE & Fig was sown.
We want to see all the platters! Where/who do you draw inspiration from?
Since researching for our wedding, I’ve been an avid follower and admirer of various Aussie and NZ platter and grazing table businesses, who have that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ and an eye for detail, namely:
- Your Platter Matters
- The Platter Project Sydney
- Poor Girls Pantry
- Table and Plate
- Grazing Society
- The Fromage Table
Grazing tables are centred around the concept of luxe decadence, and while (of course) it’s mainly about the food, there’s also so much thought that goes into the tablescape design and styling. We draw inspiration from instagram feeds such as:
What all these platforms have in common is a love of the bold, a penchant for the luxurious and a devotion to inspiring with whimsical and stunning visuals.
Do you have any absolute staples. That is, food elements you always, without fail, include in each of your platters?
Yes! We can’t go without the following:
- Locally produced artisan cheese (and lots of it!)
- A variety of deli and charcuterie meats and pâtés
- Good quality antipasti, including olives, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes
- All the dips! Think as humous and tzaziki to start with…
- Beautiful fruit + nuts- passion fruit, pomegranates and kiwi berries are favourites of ours at the moment
- Locally baked breads, crackers and chutney
- And of course, sweet treats! Namely homemade chocolate!
- Edible flowers and honeycomb are also staples of ours… and of course, a plethora of grapes and figs!
Logistically speaking, what’s the trickiest aspect of a Grazing Table?
Difficult question as I absolutely LOVE all aspects from sourcing food locally, to seeing guests devour the food, but timing would have to be the most difficult aspect.
Making sure there’s enough time to make the grazing table look as beautiful as possible (those finishing touches such as crushed pistachios and carved exotic fruit on wheels of Brie really do take longer than you’d think!), but not too much time so that the food is sitting there too long before the event starts. Putting together the spread is a work of art and can take between 1 and 3 hours to set up.
Other things to consider include:
- Finding a spot away from direct sunlight and preferably in a shaded cool area so the food can last for hours
- Table hire and tableware. At GRAPE & Fig we can supply our own stunning pieces, but there’s always the option to hire your own of course, this can really dictate the style of your platter, consider the styling, creating levels and height for the food to be displayed on
- Table arrangement. We recommend a long rectangle (1-4 metres) table, which is positioned so it’s accessible from all sides to avoid the awkward ‘buffet shuffle’ and to make the experience more inclusive
Luxe grazing tables can be quite free-form and flowing in nature, how do you address allergies and/or dietary requirements?
Absolutely, one of the most beautiful, visually impactful and unusual elements of a grazing food spread is its fluidity.
To really make a lasting, incredible impact and ‘wow’ guests, we ensure our tables are heavily laden and completely covered with a sea of delicious food, but we also ensure that certain food groups/types aren’t placed next to each other (eg. we wouldn’t place our beetroot humous and homemade pistachio and blueberry white chocolate side by side!).
We also love to create height, depth and intrigue with stacked tablewares such as slate, luxe marble slabs and artisan wooden platter boards. When catering for vegan or vegetarian guests, for example, these separate ‘built up’ areas are perfect to arrange a meat-free and/or animal-product-free platter.
Of course, we always ask our customers of any known allergies before an event, and can create completely separate platters, or even remove whole food groups if needed. Also, there’s always a sign on our platters and grazing tables stating what our food may include.
What’s your most popular request?
We are still a fairly new business, but our three or four grazing tables are the most popular, and our additional round or rectangle platters are usually ordered as an accompaniment to a grazing table.
People really are blown away with the scale and variety of food and, importantly, how beautiful it looks. We almost dress and adorn the table with food decoration… And we just love doing it!
What’s your opinion on themed grazing tables?
Our customers seem to love our specific luxe style and food choices, so we haven’t had any ‘themed’ requests yet, but we would totally be up for theming our tables, absolutely! Can you image a Mexican fiesta grazing table?!
We not only cater for weddings, but for all types of events, from engagements, to birthdays, to baby showers and corporate shindigs. We’re often asked to incorporate various elements into our mouthwatering tables, such as birthday cakes, or separate child-friendly grazing zones.
We also work with local, creative florists who adorn our tables with the most stunning foliage and flowers, which makes all the difference!
So, as I’m sure you can imagine, the possibilities really are endless!
What else do you guys wanna know about grazing tables? Hit us with your trickiest questions! Would you consider opting out of a formal sit-down 5-course dinner, and instead gravitating to a free-form, luxe platter?
Peace + Love