Sam sings the praises of grazing

A cheese plate with other selected nibbles, including nuts and bread

Many of the great cuisines of the world have a tradition of grazing on a variety of tastes: tapas in Spain, meze in the Middle East, dim sum in China.

I love the idea of having a little bit of lots of different things so, in English parlance, I adore a picnic.

It became a little ritual to have a grazing plate on Saturday nights when I settled down to watch Strictly Come Dancing. It makes a lovely experience even lovelier. I eat delicious bits and pieces whilst watching people dance beautifully.

My much loved brother-in-law is the king of putting together a grazing platter. At Christmas, he adds slices of left over stuffing and cold turkey and ham. Adapt your grazing plate to the time of year. In summer, I would have lots of tomatoes, herbs, and dips. In winter, I will have warmer things like halloumi fries and chicken bites.

My tips for a good grazing plate are as follows:

– Cheese is the basis of everything. Buy the best cheese you can afford (if you are lucky like me, someone will give you really great cheese as a treat/ I have no money so normally eat the cheapest cheeses I can find)
– Things like quince paste and chutney elevate even the best cheeses and help not-so-good cheeses enormously. Make them if necessary – they are easy.
– Cold meats go brilliantly with cheese. Prosciutto, chorizo, salami, ham etc. Add slices of a variety of cured meats. They are fabulous with cheese.
– Dried fruit and nuts are a lovely change of texture and, of course, they taste gorgeous.
– Some fresh fruit (apples, strawberries, pears) is delicious as an added texture and flavour.
– Good quality crackers or bread are perfect for elevating cheese or cured meat. If you go with bread, char it on a griddle and then rub with garlic and olive oil. Yum.
– Bruschetta is delicious. Think abut adding rocket and goats cheese (or feta) to the tomatoes and basil. Do not stint on the garlic.
– Things like olives and sun dried tomatoes provide a different texture and wonderful tastes.
– Let your mind run free. Eat what you love.

Happy grazing – and keep dancing!


  • Paul Atkins

    So with you on this, it is our favorite thing to do and we do it all year round and as you say it changes with the seasons. I would also add that spending the time preparing is fun too, like having a tapas meal, planning what to make, finding you have most of it in the larder (posh name for a cupboard). Then the cooking and the long slow eating or grazing as you put it. Best of all is our August anniversary hike if the weather is okay, not too long and gets us to somewhere special for lunch, like an old roman villa ruin and then, out comes the packed selection of goodies, with one of those tinned G&Ts or a small Prosecco and some cans of red wine – not too much of course as we need to get back – it creates the fondest memories.
    Glad I found this site, thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you. Your August anniversary hikes sound brilliant. I might steal the idea of an August hike !!

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