Hosting Essentials: How to Create a Gorgeous Grazing Table

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You might remember that I recently created a gorgeous grazing table for a recent brunch event I hosted at home. But what you might not know is that this was my first ever grazing table! I love creating pretty spreads for my guests, but I have never done it in this particular way. And I did it all for under $200, so I figured I’d share what I learned and how I created the pretty spread.

What to get

I got everything for my grazing table at Trader Joe’s. It’s such an amazing place to get everything you need for hosting (including the flowers!), so I knew that’s where I wanted to go. There are a couple things you need besides food: wax/parchment paper and greenery. I chose silver dollar eucalyptus, which is what I would recommend for the base layer and setting the scene. Flowers are also great to place in vases. I also cut the stems off a few and laid them on the table face up.

When it comes to the food, it’s of course whatever you want to eat! But there are a few key items: 1) Fruits. The most important fruit to get, in my opinion, is grapes. It just makes the table look so luxurious and elegant. I went with champagne grapes for my spread, but regular-sized grapes work as well. Then I just grabbed every berry I saw at the store. They’re all great for adding some color to the grazing table. One unusual fruit I added was kiwi. I never have kiwi on a regular basis, but I saw them in the store and thought it would look great. So glad I got them! 2) Cheese and crackers. I mean, need I say more? I always go with the large block cheeses and add a pretty cheese knife next to it. You can slice it yourself beforehand if you’d like, but I don’t. My favorite cheese to get from Trader Joe’s is goat brie. It tastes just like regular brie, but it’s lactose-free and probably (?) healthier. Any crackers will do, but I love rosemary crackers and water crackers!

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For my table, I also added some frozen quiches that I warmed up in the oven. Simply because I love these quiches! I thought they looked cute and definitely added a little more substance to the food options. 3) Pretty Pastries. Since I’m no pastry chef, I outsourced this part of the table. I think it’s important to know what you’re good at – and what you’re not good at. So I got a small amount of pretty pink pastries to add to the femininity of the table and make things prettier overall. If you’re local to Atlanta, definitely check out Sugar Spun Fun! 4) Nuts. No grazing table is complete without these tiny nibblers. I love rosemary almonds from Trader Joe’s, but any nuts will do!

How to Assemble the Grazing Table

The first step is to lay down the wax/parchment paper. I chose white because yall know how I do. I put two strips next to each other and taped them together. Don’t worry, this will all be covered! Next, I placed the silver dollar eucalyptus along the seam of the two pieces of parchment paper. Use enough to cover the seam completely.

Next, add the grapes along the center of the table, on top of the eucalyptus. I wanted to build my grazing table around the grapes since they’re the biggest single piece, plus I got quite a bit of bunches. Then place bowls/plates of fruit in various spots on the table. Be sure to save some berries for sprinkling along the spread at the end.

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The next steps is to add any breads and cheeses. I like to put these items on the outer edges of the spread and directly on the parchment paper since guests will have to slice the cheese. Next I add the crackers next to the cheeses. Now it’s time to add the nuts. I put these in bowls and place them various places along the table, making sure these bowls are balanced throughout, especially with the other bowls of fruits.

Finally, finish it off with the pretty items! For this grazing table, I added all the pretty pastries throughout the spread before adding the flowers. Instead of placing the pastries one by one, I kept them together in bunches of various treats. It would look too scattered that way, so by keeping them in groups, the table remains more balanced.

The icing on the cake is the flowers scattered throughout the spread. It is a little sad to cut the stem completely off, but the result is oh so pretty. In addition to the blooms on the table, I also like to add bouquets of flowers and bud vases on the table.

I’m really happy with how this one turned out, and very surprised with how affordable it was and quick and easy it was to assemble! I already love hosting, but now that I know how to create a grazing table, I can’t wait to do it again!

What’s your favorite way to present food when you’re hosting a gathering?

Photos by Ryan Carpenter.