beyond charcuterie: grazing boards for entertaining
by Rebecca Hadfield
The popularity of charcuterie and cheese boards is at an all-time high, so it’s no surprise other foods want to get in on the action. From breakfast to late-night cocoa and dessert, grazing boards are the next big thing in entertaining.
To whet your appetite, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite board ideas to take your next gathering to the next level. And if entertaining isn’t on your agenda—no problem! Grazing boards are the perfect solution for family meals and snacks or can easily be scaled down to a single-serving anytime you want to treat yourself.
Grazing Board Basics
If you’re feeding a crowd, start with an oversized, food safe board or platter. Think about where you’ll be serving your grazing board and choose a board to fit the space. For example, if you are serving your board on a coffee table or the kitchen island, a large, square or round board that can be accessed from all sides is perfect. If you plan to serve your board at the dining room table or a bar top, a longer, narrower board (or several small boards in a row) will do the trick.
In addition to your board, you’ll also need several small bowls or ramekins for dips, sauces, and spreads, plus serving spoons, tongs and/or forks to keep things clean and sanitary. If you’re not sure if your board is food safe, you can place a piece of parchment paper on top to prevent your food from touching the surface. (This is also a good trick for camouflaging mismatched or boards.)
To build your board, start by placing your bowls of dips and spreads, then add the larger ingredients, grouping or fanning them out for an interesting presentation. Lastly, fill in the gaps with smaller or “loose” ingredients, like berries and nuts, then add your optional garnish—fresh herbs and edible flowers make the perfect finishing touch for savoury boards.
TIP: If you are serving a hot or semi-hot board, build your board with the cold or room temperature ingredients first, leaving room to add the hot food right before serving.
You’ll want your grazing board to have an abundant look so, as you’re building it, try to use the entire surface of the board, letting ingredients touch or even spill over onto each other. It’s a good idea to keep extra ingredients prepped and ready to go just in case you need to refill areas of the board or top up the bowls as needed.
Breakfast and Brunch Boards
Pastry Board Who would say no to a board heaped high with warm pastries and fresh fruit? This board couldn’t be simpler—fill your board with freshly baked sweet and savoury pastries, fresh fruit, and seasonal berries and let your overnight guests help themselves.
To save time on prep, look for freezer-to-oven pastries at your favourite supermarket or wholesale club, or use ready to bake puff pastry or croissant dough to make your own Danishes, cinnamon swirls, or pain au chocolat and bake in your convection oven for perfectly golden results. Serve your board with fruit preserves and a cream cheese-based dip for drizzling and dunking.
Pancake Board It’s hard to improve on pancakes and bacon, but here we are. This scrumptious board is loaded with golden brown silver dollar pancakes, crisp bacon, fresh fruit, and, of course, maple syrup and butter.
Your secret weapon for cooking all of these pancakes (without getting up three hours early) is a cast iron griddle pan, like the one that comes with the Frigidaire Gallery gas range. Cook up to a dozen pancakes at a time and use the oven’s keep warm setting to keep them piping hot until ready to serve.
Bagel Board This might just be a brunch dream come true—assorted bagels, flavoured cream cheese, preserves, smoked salmon, meats and cheeses, and all the accoutrements.
To make day-old bagels taste freshly baked, try this trick: preheat your oven to 350°F and place your unsliced bagels on a baking sheet. When the oven is ready, lightly sprinkle or brush your bagels with water, then place the baking sheet in the hot oven for about 5 minutes. Your “fresh” bagels will look and taste like new, and your kitchen will smell delicious. Serve immediately.
Savoury Snack Boards
Classic Meat and Cheese We’ve written about them before, but you can’t talk about savoury snack boards without bringing up the OG—the classic charcuterie board. (Check out this post for some helpful tips: How to Build an Epic Charcuterie Board)
If you are serious about your meat and cheese boards, this French Door Fridge from KitchenAid is worth checking out. In addition to its five adjustable shelves and humidity controlled crispers, it has a dedicated full-width pantry drawer that is temperature controlled to keep your meats and cheeses perfectly preserved.
French Fry Board Yes, you read that correctly. Imagine this—hot, golden, crispy French fries heaped on a board with a variety of dips and sauces. Or, maybe you go a little crazy and add mozzarella sticks, zucchini fries, onion rings, battered shrimp, chicken wings… we could go on, but we’re getting hungry.
This is the perfect board for game night, entertaining hungry teenagers, impromptu, casual gatherings with friends, or anytime you get the craving. Use your oven’s air fryer to fry up a batch of frozen or fresh-cut fries while you round up an assortment of dips (spicy ranch and balsamic ketchup are two of our favourites) and, in less than 30 minutes, you’ll have an unforgettable snack tray.
Sweets and Treats
Cookie Board With the holidays coming up, we thought a cookie board would be a great addition to our grazing board repertoire—both as something to serve at home during the holidays (ALL the holidays) and as a unique gift for a lucky recipient.
When planning your board, aim to have a variety of cookie shapes and flavours, baked to perfection in your Frigidaire Gallery double wall oven, as well as some non-cookie treats, like chocolate covered pretzels, almond bark, and seasonal candy. If you are serving your cookie board at home, add fresh fruit, berries, and nuts to give your guests a lower-sugar option to graze on.
Fresh Fruit Grazing Board Think of the Fresh Fruit Grazing Board as the fruit plate’s exotic older sister. Pile your board high with cut tropical fruit, melon, and fresh berries and serve alongside bowls of creamy yogurt at breakfast, or with lightly sweetened whipped cream and mini merengue nests for a DIY pavlova dessert.
To keep your fruit looking and tasting its best before cutting, store it in the humidity controlled crispers of your LG French Door Fridge; the assembled board can chill out until your guests arrive in the full-width Glide N’ Serve pantry drawer.
Hot Cocoa Board A grazing board filled with marshmallows, whipped cream, candies, cookies, and peppermint-filled chocolate sticks is a delicious and memorable treat for a cold winter’s afternoon, after a skating party, or at a sleepover.
Serve your grazing board alongside steaming cups of made-from-scratch hot cocoa and let everyone load up with their favourite toppings. For the best flavour (and no boil-overs), heat the milk for your cocoa gently on your range’s simmer burner, stirring constantly just until bubbles form around the edge of the pot and steam starts to rise.
We would love to see your deliciously inventive grazing boards. Tag #DufresneStyle on Instagram and TikTok to show us your creations!