A grazing table, or an arrangement of appetizers, cheeses, cold cuts, bread, and other snacks to munch on, is a set-up meant to encourage guests to walk by, help themselves to their aperitif of choice, feel comfortable, and mingle.
Whether you’re hosting a large party or an intimate get-together, it’s always worth the effort it takes to put a grazing table together. Going for something elaborate or something more simple and straightforward? We have tips for both—plus lots of photos for inspiration.
1 Invest in key items or ingredients.
Yes, you can put together a grazing table on a budget, but it’s always good to keep some items high-quality, like a popular cut of meat (prosciutto is always a winner!) and deliciously smooth slices of cheese. Your guests will love you for it!
2 Scour grocery shelves for delicious items…on a budget!
Here’s a good money-saving tip: Purchase the bulk of your grazing table items at the grocery instead of specialty shops and delis. You can find lots of good-quality cold cuts and specialty meats and cheeses in many grocery stores like Robinson’s Supermarket, Rustan’s Supermarket, and SM Supermarket. When it comes to fruits, you really want to save those precious pesos, so head to your local market to grab good deals.
3 Include some of the sweet stuff.
You can also put together a sweet grazing table instead of a savory one. There are plenty of beautiful sweets and chocolate-dipped crackers in the snack aisles of any grocery store in Manila. Pick up strawberry-filled cookie sandwiches, cream-dipped biscuits, or chocolate-and-nut covered cracker sticks. They will look beautiful once they are put together!
4 Style the grazing table with lights and flowers to give it extra oomph.
Make your grazing table party-perfect with fresh flowers, decorative lights or lanterns, and gorgeous platters, plates, and cutlery. Need tips on how to style set-up for a party? We have a few!
5 Start laying out with the bigger items.
This styling tip comes from Kara Zulueta, the founder of Aperitif.ph: Start with the big cheeses first, then work around them. Handle the cold cuts lightly and allow them to breathe, then fill in the spaces with olives, pickles, dried fruit, and crackers.