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Grazing Tables - OTM Summer

The popularity of grazing tables is waning. Guests are understandably more wary of the spread of germs and having food sitting out for people to graze on for several hours is no longer appetising.

In many ways this is a good thing. Grazing tables are notoriously heavy on ingredients and thus often very wasteful. And while the craze may have taught us a few new presentation tricks, the service and experience element was missing.

So take control of those food costs and up the service with some impressive canapés – whether they are made from scratch or creative presentations of pre-made products.


Create the perfect mouthful and make it easy for guests to eat by presenting food on or with a fork.

Morning, noon, or night, these rosti (Wild Chef) with avocado puree and crispy pancetta are impressive and delicious. Change up the toppings with dill cream cheese and smoked salmon or halloumi and chargrilled vegetables… the options are endless.

Classic combinations like prosciutto wrapped melon are great served on a little fork. Or why not try cubes of fresh watermelon with feta and a drizzle of chilli honey.

Little baby button mushrooms marinated in a vinaigrette are a delicious vegan, gluten free option.


Banish those double dippers by creating individual mini plates or bowls. Hummus dusted with dukkha and served with fresh crudité is a sensational way to please many, including those with dietary restrictions. Get creative with the crudité and hero some of the beautiful produce available, from blanched slenderstems/broccolini and green beans to baby carrots (in a variety of colours), capsicum and cucumber batons, or radish and asparagus.

Create a mini graze on a plate or bowl with a variety of cheeses, meats, crackers, chutney, dips, and crudité. Just remember to consider how someone will eat this, often with just one hand. So cut the cheese into mouthful size pieces and place on the cracker. Or use skewers to combine food combinations together, making them easy to eat and providing the guest with a handy skewer to continue eating. Cherry tomato and bocconcini make a great combo.


Vegetable sticks placed in a jar or glass with hummus, whether individual serves or the centre of a presentation, make for a vibrant, fresh look.

Chips, be them the regular potato variety, wedges, kūmara, or polenta, can be placed in small jars or glasses for people to enjoy. Here we did it with Wild Chef’s Falafel Sticks served with a chilli yoghurt dip.

Simple cheese straws or pastry twists are easy to make and provide great height and theatre. To make, just cut pre-rolled pastry into very thin strips. Brush with egg wash and grate over cheese (we used parmesan). Twist or keep straight, the option is yours. Bake on a lined tray for around 10 minutes or until golden. Store in an airtight container.


If the grazing phase taught us one thing it was almost everything can be made into a rose – salami roses being the easiest! But why stop there?

These beautiful cucumber roses are made by thinly slicing cucumber. Lay these out overlapping each piece slightly before carefully rolling them up. Place the rose in a piece of cucumber (approx. 1 cm high) that has had the inside hollowed out.

These make beautiful edible garnishes or a spectacular canapé with smoked salmon mousse piped in their middle.


Reducing waste is something we should all be doing, be it packaging or food waste. A great way to do this is to create canapés that include an edible vessel. Think baby cos leaves containing a beautiful Asian beef salad. Or check out Emma Jane’s range of veggie flower cups and cones.

If canapé style menus are something you do often, consider investing in some reusable serving items, like cake forks or little bowls. Alternatively, opt for ecofriendly bamboo options like those from Happy Frog, which include skewers, utensils, and bowls.


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