When designing a grazing table, I like to mix things up a bit and give the taste buds a road trip full of flavors & textures. The best grazing tables offer a montage of flavors. One of the stars on your grazing table should be your choice of cheeses. From a sweet, creamy cheese to the sharp and tangy, it should always be a journey of flavors. For that added wow factor in both presentation and taste, look to offer the unexpected and unusual.
So, what are the best cheeses to buy and how should cheese be served? These are great questions and ones we get from customers all the time. Today’s blog is going to help get you some answers; before you know it, YOU will be the cheese expert and giving advice to all of your friends!
What are the best cheeses to buy?
There are over 1,800 different types of cheeses around the world – how can you possibly choose! Believe me, I understand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in front of a gorgeous cheese counter and been completely overwhelmed. If you’ve ever found yourself drooling over the cheese counter at Eataly in downtown Chicago, you will know exactly what I’m talking about!
So, let’s break it down …
First, and foremost, buy the best quality cheeses you can find. The flavors will be as they were intended, and their shelf life will be longer as well. Next, you MUST sample different types of cheese – how are you ever going to know what flavors you like if you don’t try them?
Don’t shy away from trying atypical flavors of cheese, you might just be surprised at how amazing they are. Just last weekend, I tried an Espresso Bellavitano cheese that was just spectacular. It is a unique Cheddar-Parmesan inspired Italian cow’s cheese, rubbed with fresh ground Italian roast espresso beans. Who knew cheese and coffee could go so good together?
So, think outside the box and find a great local cheese shop and get tasting – I know, it’s a rough life! A great cheese shop will also point you in the right direction of cheese pairings as well, so don’t be afraid to use that valuable resource.
How should cheese be served?
In order to enjoy the full flavor of your cheese, always serve it at room temperature. Remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit for at least an hour before you plan to serve it. You also may want to cut a few slices to start your display, but refrain from cutting the entire block or wedge of cheese. It is best when it is cut fresh.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want your cheeses to be overcrowded on your charcuterie board. There is the possibility that a stronger cheese might affect the flavor of a milder cheese. Also, if your guests are going to be slicing as they go, they will appreciate a little room to maneuver the knife.
You should consider labeling your choices as well. Your guests will appreciate knowing what they are eating, and it will save you from having to answer “What type of cheese is this?” a gazillion times during your event.
For a really gorgeous presentation, add in artisan charcuterie meats, the unusual cracker and hard crusty bread, pepper jellies, honey comb, seasonal fruits and gourmet chocolates. I always serve these displays on one of my handcrafted charcuterie boards as it adds another element of delight to the senses.
Now that your charcuterie board is arranged, take a little time to sit back and relax a bit. Let the flavors work their magic – cheese is a living, breathing edible delight. Bon Appétit!
This spring I had the privilege of showcasing one of our grazing tables for a styled intimate wedding photo shoot, organized by Elements Preserved. If you’ve never heard of Elements Preserved, you MUST check them out. They are an amazing source for vintage and specialty rentals. They also have a luxury event space perfect for intimate weddings, private parties and other special events. The owner, Beth Boelter, had this to say about our Fox and Company Grazing Tables!
“One of the absolute highlights of the day was the live-edge charcuterie board, balanced on two of our whiskey barrels, filled with the most delicious and delightful spread of catering goodness, provided by Wanda Fox of Fox & Company.
Specializing in catering for the grazing table, where all the delightful cheese, fruit spread, honey, nuts, chocolate, breads, and fresh fruits can be found, the grazing table has become the new alternative to the traditional canapé option; they’re inviting, sociable, and they fit any reception format! Together with our whiskey barrels, the attractive displays kept our guests coming back for more of the various cheeses displayed in such beautiful ways, including a small wedding cake!
We highly recommend the grazing table as an alternative to the traditional sit-down dinner, especially for an intimate cocktail style event, an elopement wedding reception, or even a morning birthday brunch. The grazing table is really a very simple concept of what we often find ourselves doing at our backyard picnics, but in a very beautiful way. Whether used for sweet or savory sharing boards, it’s ideal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and everything in between.”
This event was truly enjoyable, and our grazing table was certainly one of the highlights. I can’t tell you how many people commented on how beautiful everything was. Even better, how FUN it was grazing delightful food while mingling, chatting and taking photos.
Creating Your Own Grazing Table
We would love to be a part of your special day! One of the beauties of the grazing table is that it can be customized to fit YOUR style and taste. Is there a special cheese you want to try? Would you like a cheese inspired wedding cake? Are macaroons your thing? What about truffles? We will work with you to make sure your grazing table fits your unique style and budget. All you need to do is provide the venue and we will take care of the rest! Let’s plan your grazing table.
Welcome to the Fox and Company Blog! I hope you are as excited as I am about our grazing tables. My intent for this blog is to share with you some of the amazing things I’ve learned through my journey. I plan on giving you tips on cheeses, charcuterie, food pairings and other lessons I’ve learned along the way.
If you’ve read Our Story on the website, some of this will be familiar to you, but since this is the first blog, I want to start at the beginning!
The Love of Artisan Food
Growing up on a farm in Virginia, where we grew everything we ate, deeply influenced my appreciation for what is known today as artisan food. With a southern heritage that stretches from Virginia to the north Georgia mountains, food has always been at the center of everything we did.
The best in fruit, vegetables, pecans and honey comb was always local grown. Meat came from the finest in husbandry – my father and grandfathers. The best in food preservation and learning to cook came from my mother and grandmothers. Whatever the work was on the farm or event at the end of the day, one thing was sure, there would be no lack of beautifully prepared foods. The explosion of flavors was always amazing.
The Road to Grazing Tables … and Home
Life’s road took me a long way from the farm. But the love and appreciation for local food was never far away. When the time came to change up careers, I thought it would be in floral design, growing my own product. I knew something wasn’t in the right order for me. The very core, the very center, the very foundation was missing. When I came full circle, back to food as the center point and floral as the backup singer, then my business righted itself.
From there came the grazing table, a tribute to the abundant table spreads that I remembered. Glorious, abundant, artisan foods produced by small local growers filling the tables. Food became my artwork, designing, staging & creating. All the while knowing that it would draw people into conversation, lingering over food, telling stories, sharing and making memories. Food became the healing power. Food that trapped the power of sunlight & natural energy.
Feeding the heart with food grown and produced by someone with a love and respect for what they do. Their attention to detail and love for what they grow and produce makes my design work an absolute joy.
I have finally returned home – working, designing and feeding the hungry heart!