Sharing Platters - The 3-course meal’s cooler, older sister

The very suggestion of ‘sharing’ might ignite a few confused side-glances and if you’re anything like me, it might even shock you to the very core. You may even glance around the table and be met with several looks of sheer horror as this culinary alien in the form of a sharing platter, is being placed in the middle of the table. Your Mum’s eyes dart over to yours and mouths ‘so we’re sharing?!’ whilst your Grandad leans over and mutters ‘I’m bloody starving’. However, before turning your nose up to the mere thought of sharing, let me reassure your grumbling stomachs: sharing platters offer the opportunity to be more diverse with what you choose to go on the plate… or board. What I mean is that it offers you the opportunity to incorporate a wider variety of different foods rather than limit yourself to one specific set meal. Think buffet style, but the buffet comes to you in a more sophisticated form which can be assembled to nod towards your chosen theme and decor of your wedding. Sounds good, right? 

I don’t suppose you’ve ever pondered over where the three-course meal actually originates from or at which point sharing platters made their appearance and began to outshine the traditional dinner.The formation of the three-course dinner actually dates back to ninth century Spain - so we think its probably a good time to start shaking things up a bit… 

Although ironically, sharing platters also echo the likes of tapas in Spanish cuisine, which essentially are a range of little morsels of loveliness, served together and is widely recognized as a more social style of dining. Other countries have taken similar inspiration, for example, you may be familiar with antipasti in Italian cuisine, Mezze’s in Greek Cuisine or the Schmorgasboard in Sweden. This style of eating has become increasingly popular amongst weddings or social events in recent years. It gets all your guests mingling, talking, discussing, agreeing, and disagreeing. We think it gives significant reason to the encouragement of this concept being recently recognised as the perfect dining experience that can be suitably incorporated into a whole host of different social occasions! So, as it happens we’ve actually got Spain to thank a lot for.

Now, I know your thinking but what about the starter or dessert!? Never fear, sharing platters however haven't strayed too far from their three-course ancestor, they still obey the same system of our trusty three-course routine:Selections of starters can be served on one board, followed by several different components of a main meal usualy the main attraction, or feast! Lastly the final board/course can consist of a variety of smaller versions of desserts. Hey Presto, the buffet comes to you. Gone are the days of suffering the endurance of the school-canteen routine of waiting in a single-file. 

Becoming part of the decor

So as the traditional three-course meal has died out, it has resurrected as a much more modernised, and what the word photogenic now translates as ‘instragrammable’, version of its predecessor, sharing platters almost play a part of the decor. They are rapidly stealing the photographic limelight at social events. As weddings themselves have far-strayed from several traditional habits in the past decade or so, it’s left a lot of room to be creative with the theme of your desire for your wedding - and sharing platters encourages the catering element to take the most advantage of this. The beauty of sharing platters is that you can adapt the components of them to any desired theme. A vast amount of creativity and imagination can be incorporated into them which can actually make the catering part to your big day actually exciting! 

From the colours, presentation, and even the garnish, to your choice of meats, vegetables and condiments, these components can be played around from extreme to the other in order to achieve the ultimate social-dining experience for your guests which will a result in transforming what normally can be a forgettable element to your day, into an unforgettable one.

So when it comes to assembling your sharing platters, whether you want to keep it classic and opt for something similar to the likes of an Italian antipasti board that was previously mentioned, or a ploughman’s-inspired board, or even if you want to adapt to something personal, for example, a seaside theme, you could opt for a seafood platter. You can get pretty diverse with them to ensure they correspond with the desired theme of your wedding; I once worked an Alice In Wonderland themed wedding and quirky sharing boards consisting of afternoon tea were served out amongst the tables. So ultimately, you really do have so much imaginative freedom when it comes to perfecting your ideal sharing platter! 

Why sharing platters will be your favourite guest at your wedding

There’s also a hidden social advantage with sharing platters: they really get your guests chatting to one another. Amongst all the many stressful elements and minute details that goes into planning your big day, one of them is constructing the dreaded table-plan. It’s almost the jigsaw puzzle from hell. You’re trying to strike the perfect balance between seating together your old friends, new friends, work colleagues and the family members who greet you after every five year interval of seeing them with ”well haven’t you grown!”. But this is where sharing platters aids in diffusing the awkward air of acquaintance amongst your tables. They will get shoulders rubbing, fire up discussions more heated than those between Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and following a few tipples, conversations will be striking up that mirror the likes of food connoisseurs. And possibly even discussions of what filter they should use on their photo of the sharing platter: 

“So shall I go with Valencia or Inkwell?”

“I think they both look the same really”

So really, sharing platters don’t just feed the mouths of your hungry guests, they are pretty versatile and can serve as an icebreaker, can compliment your wedding decor and a photo of them might even rack up more likes than a typical ‘#weddingselfie’!

Credit : Claire Fielding (T : @clairefielding_)

Joe Goodwin