Versatile holiday entertaining features the younger, cooler sibling of the Charcuterie Board
Avocado toast fatigue is real. And so is the calendar squeeze for entertaining options during the holidays — not every event can fit into the evening. Enter the new trend for holiday entertaining — grazing boards. Versatile enough to cover breakfast, brunch or lunch, these simple yet eye-pleasing spreads please every palate, from sweet to savory. And they can be on the table in just minutes. And while it looks extremely similar to the Charcuterie board, it’s actually designed to fill you up.
Chef Jonathan Davis of La Brea Bakery, the pioneer of American artisan bread, understands the tension between creating wonderful food and having enough time to enjoy the season. “People are pressed for time during the holidays,” said Davis. “Whether it’s trying to connect with friends and family or to prepare meals. Grazing boards offer a new way to entertain that’s simple, elegant and extremely versatile. It limits preparation time and puts the focus on flavors.”
Chef Davis recommends the following elements for a no-cook, ready to eat guest-wowing grazing board, complete with bite-sized treats, dips and sauces:
- Use colors and textures: Add vibrant color to your table with fresh fruits and vegetables; add texture with creamy yogurt or dips, nuts or crunchy granola.
- Rely on easy proteins: Layer thin slices of cheese, ham and salami on a plate for palate-pleasing protein that can be eaten solo or made into a sandwich. Try smoked salmon and cream cheese with capers. Include hard-boiled eggs if your event is earlier in the day.
- Serve bread fresh-out-of-the-oven: Lure guests into the kitchen with the aroma of fresh take-and-bake breads, like turmeric sunflower rolls (no cutting required!), sliced multigrain bread or a more traditional French baguette.
- Add something sweet: Save the desserts for later while adding a touch of sweetness with cranberry walnut loaf, La Brea Bakery’s most popular seasonal bread. (As a bonus, it makes a great sandwich!)
- Choose fun themes: Arrange elements in a seasonal shape to play into your party theme.
- Choose your surface: Use a large flat piece to make a board — from a baking tray to a platter to a cutting board, then artfully layer, arrange and pile it on.
- Thrift visually interesting containers. Find fun, mismatched bowls or other containers to add dimension and color to your board.