How to put together a sharing platter
While the thought of sharing food may have some running for the all-you-can-eat buffet (Joey from Friends?), for the rest of us, the act of sharing food can be a pleasure. For thousands of years, we’ve come together over shared meals, gathering to ‘break bread’ or joining one another for shared celebratory occasions. Sharing food can be a joy, and sharing good food is even better. So we’ve created a guide to how to put together a sharing platter to help you share this pleasure with those you love.
What to include on a sharing platter?
A sharing platter needs to be easily assembled and easily devoured. We’re talking food that can be taken from the platter to your own plate with ease. So when we put together a sharing platter we tend to lean towards cheese and charcuterie, with ample accompaniments.
But while those may be the staples, when it comes to accompaniments, the world is your oyster. Nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruit and vegetables, chutneys, crusty bread, crackers, dips… there’s no end to the colourful display you can create if you let your creative side take the reins.
While a classic cheeseboard benefits from a wider selection, we like to pick three premium artisan cheeses for a sharing platter. But as with the cheeseboard, variety is the spice of life (perhaps literally if you add the Daredevil Chilli Vintage Organic Cheddar from our Cheese Lovers Gift Box!). So we’d suggest a soft cheese, a blue and a hard cheese like a cheddar.
Take the time and effort out of choosing with our ‘Three of the Best with Crackers & Chutney’ or opt for a mixed selection of a wheel of creamy Baron Bigod, a Vintage Organic Cheddar and a tangy Bath Blue.
Charcuterie lends itself well to a sharing platter, especially if slices can be easily lifted from the platter and onto the plate. The Beal’s Farm Sharing Selection is perfectly suited to a sharing platter, while laying out the Luxury Charcuterie Selection is a treat for a special occasion.
If you’re staying away from red meat, a selection of seafood will bring back memories of long summer days spent by the sea. And I think we can all agree that any distraction from the long days of winter (and a decidedly wintery spring) is a welcome one. The Smoked Fish Selection Box will make life easy, offering all you need for a generous display of trout, salmon, prawns and mackerel.
Of course, you could take the sharing platter to a luxurious high with oysters, fresh from the Suffolk’s Butley Creek. These plump delicacies need little more than a dash of Tabasco or a squeeze of lemon. Though a glass of Gifford’s Hall Madeleine Angevine wouldn’t go amiss.
Once you’ve selected your meats, fish and cheese, it’s time to build a range of accompaniments to suit. Crusty bread is a must if you’ve opted for a meltingly more-ish cheese or a trio of dips, while our recent Story on best crackers for cheese should provide plenty of inspiration.
Adding a kaleidoscope of colour with fruits and vegetables will make an eye-catching display. A rainbow of crudités will be both delicious and dramatic, with carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, grapes and colourful peppers adding a splash of colour and a fresh crunch to balance out the softer textures and the more decadent indulgence of the cheese.
How to display a sharing platter
Now you could simply put the food onto a chopping board and pop it on the table. But is that going to make it onto Instagram? And in 2022, if you don’t post a picture of your food, did you even eat it? So why not spend a little time artfully arranging your food to be more aesthetically pleasing?
Begin with the larger items
Place any larger items - cheese, bowls of olives, a wheel of Baron Bigod, and dishes of dips for instance - around the centre of a large board. This gives you a framework for smaller, loose items such as grapes, fruits and vegetables which can then be laid out around them.
Aim for abundance; a bountiful display of fruits, crackers, and dips will look all the more enticing. And when it comes to aesthetics, the more colourful the better. A rainbow of figs, green and black olives, dark meats and creamy cheeses will draw the eye, and the hand, of your guests.
What to serve with a sharing platter
Just as putting together a sharing platter requires a selection of foods to suit all tastes, so the accompanying drinks should appeal to all. Put a range of craft beers on ice, and perhaps a Mixed Case of Small Beer for those who are cutting down on their alcohol consumption. A bottle or two of English wine will delight those who favour a glass of chilled white. We touched on the best drinks to accompany cheese in our Ultimate Guide to Storing Cheese (also a handy one to read if you have leftovers from your sharing platter) and as we noted there, a sparkling wine is a perfect accompaniment, and what better excuse to have a bottle or two of Langham Wine in the fridge?
So what’s on your sharing platter?
We hope this guide will prove helpful when you’re putting together a sharing platter for your family and friends. After so long apart, coming together over shared food has new meaning and we’re looking forward to a summer of long lunches in the garden, leisurely picking at delicious fare and catching up with our loved ones.
We’d love to see what features on your board so do tag us in your pictures on social media @barburyhill so we can get our own inspiration!
by Rebecca Lancaster, Copywriter
Rebecca, a talented writer, is a friend of Barbury Hill’s. When she’s not eating the best of British food and drink, she is writing about it. And when she’s not writing about it, she’s thinking about it.