The empty spaces left between cheeses and meats are typically stuffed with other nibbles and snacks. Anything goes – from dips to sauces, fresh vegetables to dried fruits, bread to biscuits. Their primary function is to refresh the palette, says Ethan. Punchy relishes, such as caramelised onions, and juicy fresh fruits are popular choices.
For a gourmet touch, work in seasonal finds and tropical fruits to enjoy peak freshness. “Ideally, there should be a wide variety of items so that people will create their own ‘pairings’, play with flavours and find out what works best for them. They can create their own snacks through the day, or however long the platter lasts,” he adds.
With the growing meatless trend, it might be worth incorporating plant-based options, too. Depending on the dietary restrictions of guests, dips and crudites can make for wholesome inclusions, shares food stylist Elodie Bellegarde. Nut dips and beetroot hummus can also provide a healthy dose of flavour, while marinated artichokes and tempeh sticks are just as fun to munch on.
Working in your favourite Asian condiment can be a fun way to spice things up, literally. Elodie suggests sambal for a potent kick of heat and umami, best enjoyed with emping crisps; and even kimchi laid atop crackers or thinly sliced bread. Or do away with traditions completely and create an entirely novel platter filled with things you’d like to serve and eat. “I was actually thinking the other day about a breakfast pancake grazing platter with small pancakes, some fruits, a couple of little ramekins filled with maple syrup or a buttery syrup, some yoghurt,” she shares.