Dressing up a canape or snacking dish can be difficult when you are feeling uninspired, but having guests over, and in this day and age with all of the current diets, intolerances and eating specifications it can be hard to come up with something that is vegan, gluten free, paleo, healthy AND delicious. Luckily, I have a solution for you – a fruit and nut platter!
Now, I can hear you groaning inwardly and saying, “Courtney, a fruit and nut platter might be healthy and tasty, but it’s pretty boring for a party” and to that I answer, “No way!”
I recently had my book launch for Cosmic Decay: Contamination and served up a delightfully healthy, tasty and pretty fruit and nut platter that sent people heading back to the snack table for more. If you want to do the same, here are some tips to help you put it all together.
Photo by Celebrations at Home
Pick Your Fruits
This particular fruit and nut platter works best with decadent style fruits such as grapes, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries, but you can really choose any type of fruit that you see fit that will suit your event. Having a Summer day BBQ? Put together some delicious Summer fruits such as mango, pineapple and watermelon. Having a fancy high tea? Add strawberries and figs as the main focus.
Use fruits that match your party, but also that are in season. If you go to the local farmers market and score some in season fruits you will half your food budget rather than getting out of season and hard to find stuff.
Photo from Gather and Feast
Pick Your Nuts
There are so many types of nuts that you can get that you could go nuts just thinking about it! Each have particular tastes, so by choosing a collection of lightly salted peanuts, walnuts, almonds and cashews the creamy texture and taste these will pair nicely with the fresh zip of grapes and berries. If you are going for the summer selection, focus on more plainer nuts such as Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, and even cacaos and coconut shavings.
One huge thing that I have to point out is that if you are serving nuts at your party, you will need to make sure no attendees are allergic to nuts in any way. If someone is coming and the allergy is not too bad, it might be best to have a separate fruit platter for these people that have not been contaminated or in contact with the nuts. If people are coming to the party and are deathly allergic, my advice is to avoid nuts all together!
Photo by Gather and Feast
Pick Your Extras
The thing that really revamps a fruit and nut platter from being tired and boring is the extras that you put on it. On a decadent grape and berry platter you absolutely HAVE to have some dark chocolate to put on it (in slab form preferably for more organic placement) but you can also have slabs of nougat, chocolate coated almonds, little Easter Eggs (to add an Easter element to it), some coconut shavings or even some edible flowers. Choose what extra will work for you, and match it to your theme.
Photo by Celebrations at Home
Putting It Together
When putting a decadent and revamped fruit and nut platter together it is essential that you use an on trend serving dish in a natural tone and material, such as a slate serving plate, a round wooden chopping board, or even a marble slab that are quite popular right now. Setting the platter on an natural material will harness the earthy goodness and sit together nicely. It also would look good at any event, no matter the theme!
When you put your fruit and nut platter together, start with the fruit that will take up the most room (such as the grapes) and plonk it to one side of the platter. Then, working slowly in a circle, add in the fruits that will next require the most room and so on and so forth. Think of colour and how they sit together when rotating the placement around in a circle, and remember that you don’t have to use all of the ingredients in one go.
Once the fruit is placed, make a small bit of room for the nuts and pour them in as organically as possible – if they spread a little over under the fruits that is fine. Get your slab of chocolate and break them into organic pieces (don’t follow the lines on the chocolate squares if you can help it) and pop them next to the fruit. Add in any extra decorations you might have such as edible flowers and pop them wherever there is a space. The goal here is to let them fall where they may because it gives it a more organic and delicious look.
Then, once they’re all sitting pretty, you can set it up on the table and let your guests chow down on it!
I know it took a full post, but putting together a fruit and nut platter is super simple and doesn’t have to be neat – in fact, it’s better if it isn’t! Go out there and give it a go, and let me know how you go.