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How to Make a Grazing Table

Learn how to make a grazing table for 40 or 15 people! Includes a shopping list for all of the grocery items you will need.

Ready to upgrade your charcuterie board game? The first time I made a grazing table for a party, I was hooked! Grazing tables are a super fun way to provide dinner or snacks for a larger group, even weddings! Learning how to make a grazing table is easy, it just takes time, and a little preparation. 

Grazing Table for 40

"You are a lifesaver. I'm 34 weeks pregnant, finishing work this week, and it's two weeks til Christmas. My fiance has invited 20 people around on Saturday for baby shower/leaving drinks, and I could not get a caterer for love or money. Neither do I have two brain cells to rub together to put on a grazing table. This is absolutely brilliant, thank you!!!"

Decide the location of your grazing board

A sanitized countertop is a great option for your grazing board. The one pictured stretched about 7 feet wide, and a little bit over 1 foot wide. 

You can choose to lay butcher paper or parchment paper down, or put the items directly on the countertop. I chose to use parchment paper for each clean up. I did have to use a double layer of parchment, because one layer was not quite wide enough. 

If you don't have a countertop available to you, consider using a portable card table. 

Ideally, guests will be able to graze from both sides, but that isn't always possible.  

Grazing Table for 40

Shop for your grazing table ingredients

Now, it's time to get shopping! The ingredients for a grazing table can be expensive. My secret weapon? ALDI! 

Aldi has wonderful specialty cheeses and cured meats. They also have a good assortment of crackers, fruits and nuts. It's a great place to start your shopping! 

The ingredients for the spread pictured cost around $200, totally from Aldi! That makes the cost for feeding folks at this gathering around $5 per person, since there were 40 guests. Not bad! 

The shopping list at the very bottom of this post is designed to be DINNER for 40 people. If you're serving dinner in addition to your grazing table, cut the list in HALF to have the right amount of appetizers for 40 people.

You don't need to splurge on every single ingredient. Buy staples that everyone enjoys, and just a few special high end cheeses or meats to mix throughout your grazing board. 

Grazing Table for 40

How to arrange your Grazing Table ingredients 

Arranging the ingredients on your grazing table is truly more of an art than a science. Because of that, I've included suggestions below, but want to encourage you to do what feels best! 

  • Add height: Add 1-2 serving small plates or serving trays. If you have a pedestal server, this is a great time to use it! Place 2-3 small bowls for dips and nuts. 
  • Dips and jams: Place these in small bowls or in their original containers, with a small spoon. 
  • Add cheese: Cheese is truly the star of charcuterie tables, although charcuterie technically means meat! Cheese is ALWAYS the first thing to be eaten! 
    • Place a variety of sliced and whole chunks of cheese on the table. 
    • If you place a whole chunk of cheese (like a wheel of brie, or blue cheese wedge), make sure you have a cheese knife placed by it, and slice the first slice. People are typically timid about being the first ones to cut into a whole piece of cheese!
    • Arrange sliced cheeses in both tall piles and lines for visual interest. 
    •  
    • Add fruit and veggies: I typically add fruit and veggies next because I want to make sure that there is COLOR interspersed throughout the grazing table. If you hold these items until last, you'll have to squeeze them into the empty spaces. 
    • Add meat: Now, it's time to add the meat! I like making tall piles of salami circles. You can also lay meat slices next to your lines of cheese slices, or in a circle around a chunk of cheese. Make a few salami roses for visual interest, if you have time!
    • Add everything else: Now, add nuts, desserts and crackers. Fill in all of the gaps and any empty serving trays that you have left. If you don't have space for all of these, no worries! You can replenish them throughout the night. 
    Grazing Table for 40

    In addition to the food, there are just a few non-food items you may need to complete your grazing table:

    • Toothpicks: Place these close to olives or other small items that can be skewered. 
    • Serving tongs: Place these around the edges so that your guests can grab their items hands free. 
    • Small plates: Enough for each of your guests to have two rounds of charcuterie. 
    • Napkins: Cocktail sized napkins work great!
    • Spoons: 1 for each dip, jam or mustard. 
    • Cheese knives: 1 for each whole block of cheese you plan to serve. I typically leave brie and blue cheese wedges whole. 
    Grazing Table for 40

    Finally, remember to give yourself enough time to get the board together! For the grazing table pictured in the post, it took my husband and I about 1 hour total to get everything set.

    And remember, cheese can sit out at room temperature for about 4 hours. So, set the timer and encourage your guests to enjoy the grazing table when they arrive!

     

    Grazing Table for 40: Grocery List

    This ingredient list provides enough charcuterie to provide DINNER for 40 people.

    If you are serving dinner in addition to this grazing table, halve the ingredients listed to provide a hearty spread of appetizers.

    2 soft cheese rounds

    Brie, camembert

    10 ounces goat cheese logs

    Plain, herbs or fruit covered

    50 ounces affordable cheese

    Cheddar, colby jack, gouda

    I like to buy this pre-cut or pre-cubed where I can to save time. Cracker Barrel cheddar is a delicious option.

    25 ounces specialty cheese 

    Blue cheese wedges, aged cheddar, truffle cheese, wine soaked cheese, manchego or other spanish cheeses, port salut, fontina

    40 ounces affordable meat 

    Sliced salami, summer sausage

    20 ounces specialty meats 

    Prosciutto, speck, capicola, iberico ham, sliced chorizo

    2 varieties of jam and/or mustard

    Try one sweet and one savory option! I like fig, sour cherry and blueberry jams for sweet. Pepper relish, onion jam or whole grain mustards for savory.

    20 ounces nuts

    Spiced, candied or chocolate covered

    8 ounces olives or pickled goods 

    Peppadew peppers and stuffed olives are always a hit.

    24 ounces prepared dips and spreads

    Spinach artichoke dip, dill dip, etc. Place next to crackers.

    80 ounces crackers, crostinis and flatbreads, assorted

    20 ounces berries 

    Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes

    20 ounces vegetables

    Grape tomatoes, sliced carrots, sliced celery, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, sliced peppers. Place next to dips.

    15 ounces dessert

    Chocolate covered pretzels, small cookies, bite sized brownies, truffles, pirouette cookies, chocolates.

    November Charcuterie Box

    Grazing Table for 15: Grocery List

    Yield: 15 servings
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Active Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

    This list will yield enough for 15 people for DINNER portions. If you want to provide appetizer portions, halve the amounts!

    Instructions

    1. Decide the location for your grazing table. A sanitized countertop is a great option for your grazing board. The one pictured stretched about 7 feet wide, and a little bit over 1 foot wide. You can choose to lay butcher paper or parchment paper down, or put the items directly on the countertop. I chose to use parchment paper for each clean up. I did have to use a double layer of parchment, because one layer was not quite wide enough. If you don't have a countertop available to you, consider using a portable card table. Ideally, guests will be able to graze from both sides, but that isn't always possible.  
    2. Add height: Add 1-2 serving small plates or serving trays. If you have a pedestal server, this is a great time to use it! Place 2-3 small bowls on the surface for dips and nuts. 
    3. Dips and jams: Place these in small bowls or in their original containers, with a small spoon. 
    4. Add cheese: Cheese is truly the star of charcuterie tables, although charcuterie technically means meat! Cheese is ALWAYS the first thing to be eaten! Place a variety of sliced and whole chunks of cheese on the table. If you place a whole chunk of cheese (like a wheel of brie, or blue cheese wedge), make sure you have a cheese knife placed by it, and slice the first slice. People are typically timid about being the first ones to cut into a whole piece of cheese! Arrange sliced cheeses in both tall piles and lines for visual interest. 
    5. Add fruit and veggies: I typically add fruit and veggies next because I want to make sure that there is COLOR interspersed throughout the grazing table. If you hold these items until last, you'll have to squeeze them into the empty spaces. Add these colorful items next to the cheese.
    6. Add meat: Now, it's time to add the meat! I like making tall piles of salami circles. You can also lay meat slices next to your lines of cheese slices, or in a circle around a chunk of cheese. Make a few salami roses for visual interest, if you have time!
    7. Add everything else: Now, add nuts, desserts and crackers. Fill in all of the gaps and any empty serving trays that you have left. If you don't have space for all of these, no worries! You can replenish them throughout the night. 

    November Charcuterie Box

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    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Savannah

Sunday 3rd of April 2022

Hello Michelle. I have a few questions and just need tips lol. I’m doing a grazing table for a wedding reception for around 200 people. There will also be dinner served so this will just be for snacking on all night. The bride wants mainly fruits and vegetables and adding a few cheeses and meats. I’m not sure how much to charge and any tips you could give me would be great!

Michelle Goth

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Hi Savannah! Since she wants it to be more fruit and veggie heavy, I'd at least double the fruits and veggies that this calls for, and halve the meats and veggies.

Lucky for you, fruits and veggies are cheaper per pound than meats and cheese! This should help you build a nice little cushion into your pricing.

I typically charge $8-10 per person for big spreads of charcuterie, and my costs are $4-5 per person. This is shopping at Aldi for ingredients, mostly.

Feel free to e-mail me at blackberrybabeblog@gmail.com if you need more help! GOOD LUCK!

Marnee Geer

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Thank you so much for you information. I'm trying to plan a stationary cocktail hour table. The suggestions you made for food was exactly what I was thinking, but had no clue how much to buy for 80-100 guest for the hour long event. I didn't want a lot of waste, but also didn't want anyone to go hungry before dinner is served.

Michelle Goth

Monday 7th of March 2022

Marnee,

I'm so glad this was helpful to you! You've got this! :)

- Michelle

Niusha

Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

What do you put your gaze on? any recommendations?

Michelle Goth

Monday 7th of February 2022

Hi Niusha! I usually put it on the countertop, and use kraft paper or parchment paper to line the countertop! You could also use a table (or folding table)!

BT

Friday 14th of January 2022

Thanks for this fantastic list! You took all the brain work out of it for me! I'm serving 40 for a baby shower at 2 in the afternoon - do you think halving the list will still be fine?

Michelle Goth

Thursday 20th of January 2022

Yes, I do! I'd assume everyone's already eaten lunch and will lightly graze. Good luck! :)

Lona G

Sunday 12th of December 2021

Lifesaver! Company with 140 employees... "We're not going to do a Christmas event this year... do small bits for your individual departments..." "Oh wait, yes, we are... we're going to do TWO Christmas parties - Can you do food? You've got a whole week to figure it out!" OMG!!! The photo alone saved my life and my sanity. Heading out today to double shop all the non-perishables (crackers, olives, nuts) and will have minimal prep and beautiful, satisfying spreads for not one, but TWO parties. Thank you so much!

Michelle Goth

Tuesday 14th of December 2021

LONA! I am so glad this was helpful to you. What a mess your company put you in, but it sounds like you've got it handled. Aldi has a GREAT selection of stuff if you still need to get to the store. GOOD LUCK!

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