Looking for a change from the formal Christmas Dinner?
A very relaxed approach to dining, more of a communal style where friends and family can pass food around as they talk with each other.
Serve the food ‘family style’ by placing platters on the table for everyone to share. Platters make entertaining easy; you can get dishes out quickly, letting guests help themselves. This gives you time with your guests and to work on the next course if needed.
Trade-in the traditional all-on-one table buffet for interactive food stations, this encourages guests to spread out and mingle.
Set up different foods on different stations around the room. For example, set up an appetizer station in the kitchen with a mixed platter, napkins, and drinks. Set big sharing platters on an outside table. Place the dessert and coffee off to one side and provide more plates, napkins and spoons.
Tips for clever platter presentation:
- Rather than scatter all the items over a platter, which can end up looking messy, simply pop nuts and other nibbles into containers.
- Up-cycle containers (this saves having to buy lots of little bowls and canisters) and use vessels you happen to have around the kitchen, such as clean tin cans, attractive jam jars, glasses and teacups.
- Save pretty glass jars from jams and such like used throughout the year, so you have a nice selection ready for festive entertaining.
- Small tin cans (canned tuna tins are a handy size) can be washed and used as containers for snack foods. If the labels can’t be removed then you can hide these with strips of brown paper or wrapping paper that matches your entertaining theme.
- If you don’t have enough platters then use a breadboard or kitchen tray for presenting a cheese platter.
Assembling a Cheese, Nut & Dried Fruit Platter
- Choose a variety of cheeses that have different tastes and textures – three or four options is the best number. A good selection would include a soft, creamy Brie or Camembert or perhaps a soft goat’s cheese; a sharp, hard cheese such as Cheddar or aged Gouda; and a blue cheese.
- Larger dried fruits, such as figs, peaches, apples, pears and dates are great matched with cheese and are not too fiddly for guests to handle.
- Nuts and cheese are a match made in heaven, so include some treats like Pistachios, Macadamias, or Horopito Cashews.
- Include some crisp snacks that work well with cheese, such as Pretzel Bows or BBQ Rice Crackers along with bread or crackers.