With many preferring to entertain at home rather than head out to a restaurant in the wake of Covid, grazing platters have caught on in India and now occupy pride of place at house parties
Move over main course—it is artistically decorated platters laden with bite-sized gourmet cheese, charcuterie, crackers, nuts, fruits, artisanal dips and more that now occupy pride of place at house parties. The concept of grazing platters was born in Australia two years ago, went on to wow the US and Europe and is now a rage in India as intimate home gatherings become the trend. It is stylish, hassle free for the host and the way to go as small becomes beautiful even as you feast.
It is no surprise that these platters have become the norm for those who want to go the extra mile. Post the lockdown, with many still hesitating to head out to restaurants or hotels, entertaining at home is catching on. But with people also uncomfortable to get cooks and caterers into homes, a variety of nibbles sitting prettily on platters are the perfect way to kick off a cosy evening. Indeed, passing around plates of chicken tikka and kebabs has become passé—cheeses, cold cuts or sushi cakes and mini sandwiches that pair well with a glass of wine or a cocktail are the new culinary showpieces. While you can assemble your own platter at home, there are a number of brands that have come up in this space who will deliver them to your doorstep.
Whether it is cheese, dessert, charcuterie, breakfast, brunch, Lebanese or a kids grazing platter, they cover it all. “Nobody has a proper meal these days, so these platters work really well. People are so conscious of what they eat,” says Preeti Rathod whose love of hosting and styling prompted her to launch The Theatric Platter in Delhi last October. It even offers massive 30-inch platters that can make the table look quite decadent. “There are no rules for grazing, so we expanded the menu to include a breakfast platter, kids grazing platter (think berry cupcakes, mini donuts) and are going to add pizza grazing platters as well,” says Rathod.
With local becoming the new buzzword among chefs, there is nothing imported on Rathod’s platters. “Whether it is cheese or chocolate, it is all local. I think it is important to support each other and a number of good local brands have come up in our country,” she says. The platter itself is made from bio-degradable material by people from South India, so it is sustainable.
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If you want your grazing platter to have a slight Indian twist, I’M Wholesome is the answer. “These days people do not want regular Indian food but something fancier so we came up with nibbles that were modern yet palatable to an Indian audience,” says Manpreet Dhody, the founder of I’M Wholesome in Mumbai. She pleases all age groups—from a 16-year-old to a 60-year-old who prefer sushi cakes and mini sandwich cakes that literally look like desserts. They even have high tea and breakfast platters. The vegetarian sushi is finding many takers, so they offer a number of options in that. Mini tea sandwiches like Mexican chipotle and hummus are also doing well. They also do mithai grazers with bite-sized desserts—perfect for the festive season.
WhatsApp on 9321838714 to place an order
Nidhi Chandra noticed that gifting options were limited to just chocolates and flowers and hence came the fancy grazing platters from Graiz India. She says, “I wanted to create a grazing box where people love at least 75 percent of what comes out of that box and for that I make sure that what goes in it is of the highest quality.” Their large box comes with artisanal breads, assorted cheese, dips, crackers, olives, mixed berries, dry fruits and artificial flowers. They even have breakfast platters and boxes for a cosy date night. They deliver across Mumbai.
You can place an order on their website www.graizindia.com
To create unique flavours, Gourmaison combines imported cheese with ingredients like truffle, almonds, pistachios and more. All this is set on a fancy round platter with fresh fruit, handmade crackers and flowers to add a special touch. There is a tasting platter and a five-cheese platter that includes varieties like Truffle Pistachio, Herbs and Pepper, Almond & Berries, Cheddar Chilly Chives and Spiced Peppers. If you do not want a grazing box or cheese platter, you can even order their spreads that come in both sweet and savoury varieties. The fig chilli jam and truffle edamame snow cheese spread sound quite interesting. Their fans include Bollywood celebrities as they are based in Mumbai.
Call 9930173782 to place an order or visit their website www.gourmaison.in
This year-old brand does an assortment of sweet and savoury grazing platters. Delhi-based Ayesha Jain throws in a bit of the Indian element because she feels that some people are not yet open to just cheese—so she adds that hint of garlic or some spices to give the nibbles a twist. “I want people of all age groups to enjoy these grazing platters—it is an experience I want them to remember,” she says. It all arrives on a pinewood tray with dips in glass bowls. For those with a sweet tooth, there is a sweet grazing box that will come with teacakes, cookies and brownies.
WhatsApp on 9712931601 to place an order
Cheese boards and grazing platters replacing cakes during birthdays? Yes, that is a trend that Megha Rathee has seen catch on since she started The Platter Life in Gurugram. Boxes shaped like numbers and alphabets are becoming increasingly popular and so are breakfast platters and cheese boards. All the cheeses on her platter are local—sourced from the mountains of Kumaon by Kumaoni Blessings—and the variety is huge. Throw in a bottle of wine in the grazing platter and you have the perfect gifting option as well with crackers, meat, dips, olives and seasonal fruits.
WhatsApp on 9999634422 to place an order
Cheese lovers, do not think twice while ordering from The Cheese Board in Mumbai because they take their cheese very seriously. Apart from the regular ones, they have dessert cheese (walnut cranberry, raisin cashew) and about six kinds of truffle cheese as well (mushroom, pepper, pistachio, almond, walnut and pecan), so you will be spoilt for choice. There are five kinds of platters but it is all vegetarian with cold cuts being replaced by dry fruits, bread sticks and more. The party platter, which comes on a gorgeous wooden cheese board with two cheese knives, is enough for eight to ten people.
Call 9833924647 to place an order
If you are craving European cheese, this is where you will get it. When a grazing platter from Asorté arrives, you will be biting into some delectable English Cheddar, Truffle Piedmont, French Brie and Dutch Gouda. But if you want something closer to home, try the Kerala Cracked Pepper cheese. Their platters are all vegetarian and if you want keto, gluten free and vegan platters, you can put in a request for these as well.
WhatsApp on 9321486240 to place an order