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How to curate the perfect grazing platter according to Splatter

It’s more than just placing slices of cheese and fruits on a platter.

You know you’ve reached peak status when you can have a cheese platter anywhere at any time. Grazing tables are often the centre of attention at big events and occasions — but now, cheese platters can be curated even for just one person at home. And why not? Wine and cheese sounds like the perfect downtime after a long day of work.

There are cheese platter delivery services you can order from, which include Splatter — the first grazing platter online store in Malaysia. Founded in 2019, founders April and Sue Ann created Splatter based on their love of having a bite of everything on the menu (because why limit yourself to just one type of dish, right?). Thus, grazing platters became the answer. As Malaysians, we have this underlying culture of sharing food; whether it is a seven-course meal together or tea time tidbits such as curry puffs, traditional kuih and more. A grazing platter relatively holds the same concept, but with more modern elements such as cheese and cold cuts.

If you’re no sure on where to begin, Splatter has a curated list of platters that anyone can enjoy. “We specialise in grazing platters in general – not limited to only cheese platters. It’s one of our favourites, no doubt, but we also take pride in our vibrant fruit platters, kuih platters, and the occasional dessert platters for seasonal celebrations,” says Sue Ann. Only the freshest and finest ingredients are used; everything from premium seedless grapes to artisanal cheeses. Even if it costs triple the usual prize for the best freshly-baked artisan baguettes in town, Splatter maintains its prices at an affordable rate. “Freshly-baked artisan baguettes sound cliché, but we do try our best to serve the yummiest finds for our customers,” she adds.

The OG platter is the Signature Fruit Platter. A vibrant fruit platter that comprises ten different fresh fruits of both local and premium important varieties. It’s been popular since day one as many love the freshness of these fruits, as compared to cheese that is usually an acquired taste. Another popular platter is the Cheese & Meat Platter, which allows customers to choose any two artisanal cheeses ranging from mild to strong intensity, according to their own preferences. Another upcoming favourite is Watermelon “Cake”, which is pretty self-explanatory. The ‘cake’ is made out of two tiers of watermelon blocks, with cascading waterfalls of premium assorted berries on the front, back and even the sides.

Watermelon
Watermelon “Cake”
Cheese & Meat Platter
Cheese & Meat Platter

Now as grazing platters is growing in popularity in KL and we’re in the midst of a lockdown, treat yourself to one of these generous grazing platters. We asked the founders of Splatter, Sue Ann and April what’s the 101 when it comes to cheese platters, as well as tips and tricks on how to assemble one at home.

What are the best cheeses?

Cheese is still an unfamiliar concept here in Malaysia. While Malaysians are generally curious enough to try most things, many are hesitant to fully dive into this vast world of artisanal cheeses. In hopes of encouraging such explorations, we released a medium-sized platter duo where customers can pick out which cheeses they’d like to try from a curated list. It’s a great grazing platter for beginners. If you’re feeling adventurous, give blue cheese a shot. It’s really not as intimidating as it looks! If you’re feeling safe, you can’t go wrong with Brie or Gouda. This curated list consists of crowd-favourite cheeses, put together from the overwhelmingly positive feedback from past events.

As for personal preferences, Sue Ann loves their bestselling Chaource-style Opal soft cheese with a side of seedless grapes and creamy Stilton blue cheese from the UK. April loves a combination of black truffle-infused Manchego cheese from Spain with crunchy roasted almonds and raw honeycomb.

Chaource-style Opal

Soft cow’s milk cheese originating from Chaource, France. It has a soft velvety rind with a toothsome gooey texture and slightly crumbly centre. Its earthy aroma leads to a smooth, creamy flavour. Handmade in small batches by Milky Whey Cheese (on indefinite hiatus).

Stilton Blue

This award-winning cow’s milk blue cheese is made in Leicestershire, England by one of only 6 dairies in the world permitted to due to its PDO status. Blue veins radiate through its semi-soft body that offers bold, creamy yet distinctively tangy flavours.

Truffle Manchego

A semi-firm Spanish sheep milk’s cheese infused with luxurious black truffles! Beautiful dark veins lace through this nutty, buttery Manchego-style cheese with the earthy aroma of pure truffles. Never overpowering, an exquisite flavour to be enjoyed in every bite.

What goes with what?

Balance is everything. You can only eat so much of one thing on its own before it starts to feel like it’s too much. Pairing potent food like cheeses with other less intense ones lets you enjoy more of it by allowing more variety in flavour and texture – thus creating balance — just like how we enjoy flavourful side dishes better with plain white rice. That said, there is no right or wrong here. It’s really a matter of personal preference. Some like heaps of pairings with a bite of cheese, some like it plain with little “interference”. You do you!

How do I start?

First, set a theme and gather the food you love! 

Secondly, find a wooden board or large platter as a base.

Third, put the food onto the board and have fun arranging it as you like! Try a few different placements, move things around, get messy if you want to, stack neatly if that’s your thing, add some fresh herbs or edible flowers as garnish and you’re done.

There really isn’t any right or wrong, just a matter of personal preference. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and still try a few different arrangements before settling on our favourite one. Plattering is certainly not limited to cheeses, we’ve had plenty of fun with kuih-muih platters, Mediterranean mezze platters, chocolate and cakes platters, and even a platter of the traditional lemang and rendang this Raya.

I like cheese. So how about a cheese platter?

Let’s start by getting a few kinds of cheese you like. Go for a mix of soft (brie, camembert, mozzarella, etc even cream cheese), semi-firm (gouda, cheddar, blue, Sarawak etc), and hard cheeses (parmesan, manchego, gruyère etc). Prepare any board or platter you like for its base, your favourite large plate works too! 

Cheeses generally pair well with fresh fruits – grapes (go seedless to save yourself the trouble), berries, and apples are staples. Dried fruits like apricots and figs work wonderfully too. Then we get into the savoury pairings. Cured meats are popular, as well as olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted nuts. Some like to have a spread or two like whole grain mustard, chutney, jam, or honey. Now we add an element of crunch with plain water crackers. Good bread is lovely too. If you’re feeling extra, finish with stalks of fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme or pretty little edible flowers!

On days when we don’t want to share, we go back to basics and make ourselves a personal platter with just one cheese of choice, a cute bunch of seedless grapes, roasted nuts, and crackers. Simple but so good, it makes our day!

Any tips before I start?

Wash fresh produce at least twice! The amount of dirt and whatever else lodged in their skins that come off whenever we clean produce with a fruit and vegetable wash – it’s shocking! Also very satisfying to rinse off the murky water! We make it a point to clean thoroughly for every platter we send out.

Besides that, ensure that you use good quality ingredients — it makes a world of difference. We love choosing the artisanal route wherever possible – but we understand it’s not the most accessible option for everyone, so do try to seek out quality ingredients in general. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive, it doesn’t have to be the best. Just good is good enough!

Jolin Lee
Contributor
Unlike most modern-day millennials, Jolin does not need caffeine or alcohol to power through the day (and night). Her eye for beauty is as sharp as her eyeliner flick, and she can spot your unblended eye makeup from a mile away.