We get to provide massive amounts of cured product over the festive season, and are continually amazed that often customers have no perception of what they need in terms of quantity. We regularly have requests for a platter for 50 people for $50 ! Seriously that is 86 cents per head after tax ! With even the cheapest quality available that will never go a long way to feed your guests. That is a sure way to increase the Macca sales revenue on that day.
We suggest a starting point of around $5 per head (the price of a coffee). The time of serving has a bearing, drinks, before a meal, the main event and so forth. The second consideration regards the recipients, what their food expectations are. Thirdly, what drinks accompany the platter ? And finally, are there dietary requirements, and whether everything has to be compliant for one or two people? We usually suggest a separate platter for these instances, mostly because of cross contamination.
When selecting cheese we suggest fewer, and more of each, rather than little of many. When there are budget constraints start with a reasonably priced soft white. Local or imported start at around $50 per kilogram. A great choice for a semi hard cheese is a Maasdam.
If you are being adventurous you could add a washed rind, or a sheep or goat's milk cheese. For a blue there are myriad choices, Cropwell Bishop Stilton or Shropshire, Whitestone Windsor Blue or Cartwheel Creamery Blue Rhapsody.
Talk to your cheesemonger about the cheese, how to serve it, to slice or wedge and to have near perfect ripeness on the day.
CHARCUTERIE - PREPARED MEATS
When adding meats to your platter the starting points are exactly the same as above. In the case of salami or cured meats cheaper is not necessarily more ! The higher priced drier meats can be sliced more thinly, so give better value. Start with a medium salami that most people will like. If there are children Mortadella di Bologna is a great addition. The slices are large, and look great if "ruffled" on the plate. Spicy salami is a great extra, but use it more sparingly, as not everybody likes the heat. Charcuterie with colour, like Chorizo Gran Riserva, or Pampalona make your platter vibrant.
While prosciutto San Danielle or Parma and Serrano are the popular choice I recommend cuts like Coppa or Lomba because the size makes them really efficient on a platter. A good idea is to add a beef product like Bresola for those who don't eat pork.
Now you have the main ingredients for your platter look at some antipasti, and this really depends on your budget ! Stuffed Peppadews and artichokes are great, but not cheap. Nice large olives are great, stuffed or pitted often better for a platter, depending on the serving circumstance. French cornichons or Kosher Dills are great because they cut through the fat in the cheese and meat.
Keep it simple, don't have too little or too much on the platter. Cheese can be in whole sizes for guests to "self serve", or blocked up with toothpicks to serve, depending on the style of your event. Breads, crackers, Grissini need to be in step with what's on the platter. A subtle Brie is not well served on a slice of Pumpernickel!
so take a few minutes, and plan your platter. You will be pleasantly surprised how much you are able to achieve with a little careful planning ! Happy Festive Season.
For assistance with your platter please consult with one of our specialists at On Trays.