How to put together the perfect summer platter

by - Sunday, November 22, 2015

(Sponsored Post) This post has been presented by We Are What We Eat, but all thoughts, opinions and photographs belong to this blog. Read my disclaimer in full here.

currently: listening to 'I Want To Be Alone With You' by Wishes.


Despite the stormy weather in Auckland, it's almost the end of November. Which means summer is coming with its warm temperatures, holidays, fresh fruits, barbecues, Christmas parties, big gatherings... and more food!

I've already got a new favourite thing for summer eats too - the humble, always changing summer platter. It may not be a new idea but I've got a new view to it all. My friends, co-flatties Sara and Sarah, have always told me stories of the weekly Sunday Platters they put together for their movie nights. I never truly understood how amazing a good platter could be until Sara made me a version of one on a warm Saturday afternoon. And it tasted amazing - like a serving of summer.

So what better way to celebrate the arrival of summer than with a guide to putting the perfect summer platter together - dedicated to my two friends Sara and Sarah, and with inspiration and guidance from wearewhatweeat.co.nz.


Choose your cheeses, decide your dips
Summer platters need to be fresh, light, and be what brings your friends and family together! I believe the best platters are ones that are easy to eat (because no one wants a mess), and doesn't take too long to prep, because it should be about spending time with friends and less time in the kitchen. And of course, everything should pair together, share together, and most importantly - taste good together!

Cheese and dips are typically the centre of a good savory summer platter. Some people like a well-chilled garlic hummus or basil pesto. For me, I currently love Annabel Langbein's 'Feta Whatever' (get the recipe here!). Basically because it's so easy to make, and who doesn't love feta cheese! It's a different take on using a store bought dip and makes an excellent spread.

Another couple of cheeses that I reckon never fail are camembert and brie cheese. I'm personally not a fan of hard cheeses or blue cheese, but creamy cheeses are always the first to disappear. And I think when you're putting together the perfect summer platter for friends and family you need to play it safe to everyone's tastes.


Bring on your breads
Of course you need something to eat your cheese and dips on. But don't think of just a packet of crackers. I love homemade bread crisps. If you take a French stick, slice, oil and then grill in the oven - they make delicious crisps that are perfect to hold any topping.

My friend Sara also has a great trick to turn tortilla wraps into delicious chips by pan frying them in melted coconut oil. Definitely different, but so delicious!

Canvas with colourful vegetables
If cheese, dips and breads are like the canvas and paintbrushes to your summer palette - then vegetables are your paint - and it should be filled with colour. Sliced raw capsicum and tomatoes are some of my favourite toppings to use, because they're crisp and fresh, just like summer! You also can't fail by having classics like sundried tomatoes and olives on the side.

But if you want to be a bit different, using baby cos lettuce is perfect for that fresh taste of greenery, and can also make an alternative to bread for those who gluten-free friends.

Platter up
Once you've gathered your platter ingredients - the question is how to present it all. I like large wooden chopping boards to hold everything as it doesn't make loud knife clanging noises on contact, and makes it easy to cut cheese on. It also keeps bowls from sliding about too much during transport.

A great hack is to put a sheet of baking paper under your cheese or your messier foods - that way your board is much easier to clean. No worries about trying to scrub off mushed cheese from your nice chopping board.


Pretty not perfection
Platters are about variety and togetherness. So don't think you have to compartmentalise everything - because that's not fun to eat. Think playful. Be open to scatter your crisps across the platter so it's accessible from each corner, and also pre-cut into your cheese. You may not realise, but people normally don't want to be the first one to slice into a new cheese - so don't be afraid to get it started before your guests arrive!

And with those elements all put together, that's what you can do to put on the perfect savory summer platter for your friends and family. Ideal for a pre-BBQ entree, accompaniment to summer drinks, or a late afternoon snack. Of course there are so many alternatives and options you could use to put in your platter, but as long as you've got the essentials together, you can't fail!

Thanks to We Are What We Eat for sponsoring this post and giving me inspiration for delicious food.
If you're looking for more delicious summer eats you can make at home and for friends, check out one of the recipe in the below and get inspired:

For more easy and tasty recipes check out wearewhatweeat.co.nz.

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