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Grazing Table how-to

Posted by Natalaigh on 21st Mar 2018

How to build an Italian-style grazing feast

Imagine yourself in a Tuscan vineyard, the sun warming your back and casting dappled light through the green olive trees. You are about to sit down for a long boozy lunch, where you will drink several glasses free-flowing Chianti and consume 20 or so perfectly prepared but delightfully simple dishes. This is as close to heaven as it is possible to be on earth, and we are going to help you recreate it.

While we can’t offer you the Italian sun or the Tuscan vineyard we have been focused on perfecting the Roman-inspired buffet and bringing it to your home. Now more than ever is a time to sit down with friends and family and come together in a way that doesn’t have to cost the earth. So here are our top tips to build a feast worthy of any Italian nonna’s approval.

Base your table around charcuterie & cheese, add accompaniments

This is the biggest secret of the Italian feasting table, it’s what makes it possible. To save time and effort, source simple ingredients like cheese, charcuterie and antipasti, such as sundried tomatoesbreadstickscrisp-breads and artichoke hearts. The work is done by your guests, who combine these in any combination that they deem appropriate.

The key is to make your entire table look like a massive cheese and charcuterie board, with some colourful, seasonal items dotted around. Be sure to spread a small amount of each meat, cheese and bread around the table, so they’re accessible to everyone, and don’t be afraid to plate them up with fruit like figs or grapes plenty of vegetables like cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Our recommendationPecorino Rosso, Gorgonzola DolceFontinaProsciutto ToscanoFinocchiona and Porchetta

Pasta is, and will always be king

Once you have your base table, you can start to dress it and build up the wow factor. A simple pasta dish will do and can be prepared in under 20mins. Spread this dish throughout your grazing table in small serving bowls. For a real wow factor you could create two or three of these simple recipes without much extra effort, also use a less well known pasta shape for maximum impressiveness.

Our Recommendation: Fregola Sarda (a North African inspired cous-cous like pasta), with Tuscan fennel sausage, pecorino, lemon oil and parsley

Pizza can be elegant

The perception of pizza is often as a heavy, not-so-subtle dish that satisfies everyone, but can leave you fairly lethargic too. We encourage you to make your pizza a little more elegant by trying Pizza Bianca, leaving out the tomato sauce brings many more interesting cheeses into play, and some more interesting toppings

Our Recommendation: Pizza Bianca with Taleggio, finished with Berry flavoured Balsamic and Rocket.

Get in touch with us at info@vallebona.co.uk for a list of ingredients or if you need any hints or tips.