TOP PARTY PLATTER
Having worked for years in a deli at woollies I can safely say that I’ve ‘quality tested’ (in other words eaten) everything that could possibly go on a platter and can recommend what you should buy and how to make your platter pretty. Platters are great outdoor foods, whether camping or at home.
Cheese of course is your most important ingredient and so you should get the good stuff. It’s best to have at least 3 different types of cheese, for example a soft one such as brie or camembert, a sharp one such as cheddar and one with herbs. Blue cheese is an acquired taste, so if you know your guests are fans then go ahead, otherwise warn newcomers to just try a little bit and to mix it with some other ingredients.
If you have a very hard cheese consider slicing it yourself and serving it that way rather than putting the knife next to it and hoping the guests can be careful. Another thing to consider is that in the heat some cheeses sweat or melt, so if you know you’re going to do an outdoor party then stick with the hard cheeses or only put a small amount of cheese at a time on the platter.
It would be ideal if you could buy your sliced meat as close as possible to making the platter so that it is as fresh as can be. Again you have a variety with some of my favourites being a medium heat salami, honey smoked ham, oven roasted turkey breast and if you want to spend big then prosciutto. Ask (as politely as you can) at the deli for the meat to be sliced very thin, and in the case of the prosciutto check one slice yourself before letting them go ahead to slice the rest.
The thin slices can be rolled up and stacked against each other, but be sure to cut the bottom of the roll so it’s flat and won’t fall over. Stack them in and around the cheese and put some crackers or other ingredients around them to keep them upright.
Everyone knows and loves sun dried tomatoes, so that’s your first call, but also something that might look strange but is very nice is artichoke hearts. They are very healthy and taste great after being marinated. You should also get some dark and green olives, marinated mushrooms and if you want more and more vegetables then slice and grill zucchini, eggplant and capsicum.
Once more we want different types of dips to add to the platter, and the more colourful the better! Beetroot dip and a roasted capsicum hummus for example are some great additions being pretty and yummy too!
If you’ve listened and bought all the variety of flavours above, then it’s probably best to buy plain crackers that won’t interfere with the toppings you’re going to add. They don’t need to be very fancy or expensive crackers but it’s best to stay away from the salty ones such as clix. Another idea is to get some freshly baked bread and slice it thinly to add around the platter.
FRUIT & NUTS
The last step is to get some grapes, apples, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, oranges, cashews and almonds. Slice the ones that need it and sprinkle around the rest of the food to fill up any gaps.
Do you have any other favourite platter ingredients? Share your ideas below.