This is how my family (and friends I consider family) eat at most meals. One or two big wooden boards, a sheet of wax paper, a ton of tapas plates and bowls and food. Lots of different, good quality food. I don’t know when this platter craze began but I do know why it hasn’t ended – eating from a variety of simple foods is the best way to eat and share a meal. We have done it so many times.
You can pick out exactly what you like, try some new flavours and share it all with people you love. Masses of food on one big board also looks so impressive. I love to put platter together, carry it to a table filled with oooh-ing and ahh-ing, while I – always so innocent – reply “Oh, what? It’s just a little plate of food!” But I do know how beautiful these platters are, and I love them for all of the memories and meals they’ve allowed my family and friends to share, eat and spend time over.
Five tips for platter making…
To make a platter all you need to do is fill up a few tapas bowls and plates with food, place the bowls onto a board and its done. Easy peasy. But if you’d like to spice things up, you can add some rocket or microherbs (Greenage grows beautiful ones) onto your platter. Not only does this make the food look more interesting, adding a few greens to a bite of cheese or meat makes everything more flavourful.
I’m not much of an academic but give me the chance to write a thesis and I’d write it on hummus. Hummus has become an integral part of my life, I’d put it on everything if given the opportunity and a big enough tub. It goes with most crudités and adds flavour to almost anything. I put hummus in a little bowl we got from ZARA Home in Barcelona and drizzle olive oil with some smoked paprika over it.
- Three (or more) cheeses.
A soft cheese, a hard cheese and a blue cheese. For hard Manchego, gratings of Parmesan and cheddar always go down well. Wyke’s Mature White Cheddar is super good (and a cheap one from Checkers!) For soft I’m all about goat’s cheese. And Fairview’s blue rock is a goodie too.
4. Something Sweet
If your platter is filled with rich cheeses and cured meats (it should be), fruits like nectarines and grapes add a little refreshment to the platter feast. Seasonal fruit also makes for easy-to-do flavour combinations – melon and parma ham is my favourite thing in the entire world and a slice of nectarine and parmesan cheese is life changing.
- Bread or Crackers.
Toasted ciabatta. Olive oil. Sea salt. So simple, yet one of the best combinations a loaf of bread has to offer. You don’t have to overdo it on the carbs or gluten, but there is seriously nothing better than good a quality sourdough or focaccia (especially if you haven’t had it in a while!).