PLATTER PERFECTION

IT BRINGS MAJOR WOW FACTOR TO ANY GATHERING OR CELEBRATION AND, WITH SOME EXPERT HELP FROM PLATTER CO, WE TAKE YOU THROUGH THE STEPS TO CREATING A
SHOW-STOPPING SELECTION OF FRUIT, CHEESE AND SAVOURY DELIGHTS

TOOLS:
Bread board, bread knife, 2 spoons

MATERIALS:
Large cheese board
3 cheese knives
2 dip/pâté knives
1 dip bowl
1 even smaller bowl for quince paste

PLATTER INGREDIENTS:
3 cheeses (hard, soft and blue), prosciutto, 1 x dip, 2 cracker varieties, quince or fig paste, fresh breads (think baguettes, olive bread or even a little fruit bread for my favourite combination), fresh fruits (think grapes, strawberries, figs and blueberries), selection of nuts and dried fruit, fresh sprigs of garden herbs for garnish

PROCEDURE:
1. Place your main items, cheeses, dips and quince paste on the board to start your framework.
2. Now you can start to build around them with your next biggest items. Placing your small bunches of grapes against each cheese, as well as your cracker and bread selections.
3. As you place the prosciutto, twist and pile it up to create another texture within your board.
4. See all the little holes between the bigger items? Start to trickle and fill those holes with cashews, walnuts, dried apricots, dried or fresh figs and maybe a few pretzels.
5. Finally, place a few fresh strawberries around your platter, and garnish with a little homegrown freshness from the garden, such as a few sprigs of rosemary

EXPERT TIPS:
You eat with your eyes, so if it’s looking fresh, colourful and abundant, it’s a guaranteed winner.
Everybody has a buddy. When you’re arranging the board, think about like you’re making a suggestion for what pairs well. Fruit bread next to a soft or blue cheese, olive bread next to the dip, sliced fig or pear with a blue cheese.
I’m also a big believer in balance over symmetry. Keep the colour and ingredients balanced on your board, but it doesn’t need to match.
In warmer weather, lean towards the harder cheeses, and swap out the cured meats for in-season fresh fruits.

CHOOSING YOUR PLATTER INGREDIENTS
Choosing platter ingredients is fun. Head to your local deli and just get curious. Some of my suggestions around Geelong with the best cheese ranges are Harveys of Highton, The Fresh Food Merchant, Geelong Fresh Foods, and East Fruit Market.

CATERING CORRECTLY
If you’re looking to feed a group for a meal with your platter, you should be planning for 500-700g of food per person. But if you’re like me and would prefer for there to be more than enough food, go with 600-800g per person. If it’s just a graze before or after dinner, wind that back to 200-300g per person.

I love wine … I love cheese. A gathering with both, is my favourite.
Here’s a few suggested wine pairings:
Pinot noir and brie
Sauvignon blanc and goat cheese
An aged port and blue cheese
Prosecco and something sharper and bitier like a parmesan

Photography: Hails & Shine