Want the festive without all the fuss of turkey and dressing?
Consider a grazing board for your holiday feast.
Unlike it’s meat, cheese and crackers cousin, the charcuterie board, a grazing board is packed with sweet, savory and fresh items — allowing party-goers to munch all evening.
The experts at Jefferson City’s Amazing Graze gave us tips and tricks for assembling your own grazing board perfect for the thanksgiving season.
Where to begin
Start by deciding how many folks will be eating off the board, and is this an appetizer or the main event?
Friends and Amazing Graze business partners Kelly Bone and Kris Michitsch said most parties have grazing boards in addition to other snacks or desserts.
A general rule of thumb: An 8-inch plate serves about two to four people; 10-inch plate feeds four to six; 12-inch plate is good for six to eight; and for up to 12 people, go with a 16-inch plate.
If it’s an appetizer, a serving size is about 2 ounces of meat and 2 ounces of cheese; double that if it’s the main meal.
What to include
Kris and Kelly’s grazing boards feature two to four types of cheeses (a mix between soft and firm) and two to three kinds of salamis or sausages.
The packed board also contains hummus and veggies, olives, jam, fresh fruit, honey, nuts, pickles, chocolate, a few types of crackers and to-die-for maple leaf cookies.
“You can’t go wrong,” Kris said. “You just go with what you like and put it on a platter. It’s going to look good.”
How to assemble
First, Kris and Kelly start with the larger items — bowls with hummus, olives, jam and honey as well as festive pumpkins for decoration.
After that, assembling your grazing board is all about filling in the holes with goodies.
Some tips to make it a success:
• Cut cheese in different sizes and shapes — wedges, triangles, sticks. Or, consider using cookie cutters for a leaf shape or to make letters to spell out a special message. “If everything was just square, that’s like getting those cracker kits at the grocery store,” Kelly noted.
• Mix colors and textures just like you would in a painting — avoid putting all the light-colored cheeses in one section; it’s more appealing if the different types are woven throughout.
• Be conscious of placement — no one wants their blackberries tasting like the neighboring pickle. And avoid putting anything too moist next to a cracker so you’re not left with a soggy mess.
• Don’t forget about the details — sprigs of fresh rosemary or sage and edible flowers turn a delicious grazing board into deliciously beautiful, ideal for a festive setting.
• Consider timing — if making a day in advance, individually wrap the crackers so they stay fresh. You’ll want to take the board out of the fridge about 15 minutes before serving as most items are best at room temperature.