Spectacular Summer Spread

Chef Lydia Gwin created a sweet and savory spread for the customers at Blue Dahlia Designs in Webster Groves.

Grazing tables have become increasingly popular for entertaining due to their versatility and aesthetic appeal. According to BizBash, a leading event planning resource, grazing tables offer a variety of high-quality finger foods, allowing guests to mingle and keep their plates full without interrupting the flow of conversation. Grazing tables are also great for accommodating different dietary restrictions and preferences with customized offerings to include vegetarian, gluten-free, and other food-forward options. Additionally, grazing tables are visually appealing and can be decorated with fresh flowers, greenery, and other decorative elements to create a beautiful display that doubles as a conversation starter. 

The food is the star! 

Your theme is set. Now comes the fun of creating a foodscape to reflect the fun. Whether it's a 4th of July BBQ, afternoon tea, baby shower, or an evening soiree, let's get your table set for an unforgettable event. 

Select your table or grazing surface.

Find a table that is appropriate for your party size. A table too large could make your offering look minimal. If your surface is too small, it becomes hard for your guests to see all the sweet and savory options available for them to enjoy. Create your table space to become the show-stopping centerpiece of your event.  

Create height and depth.

Creating height will take your ordinary flat table to an extraordinary visual centerpiece. Pull out those cake stands, boxes, and wooden boards. Dust off those crates, metal baskets, and tiered stands to create different heights to display your food. Get creative! Wheels of cheese can be stacked to look like a layered cake. Stack sandwiches to look like a pyramid. Consider how you can display your food with fun, playful pieces to match the theme of your event.  

Setting out the table

You want your guests to dig in. While you want your guests to rave about your grazing table, style your food displays carefully. Don't over-style. Guests shouldn't be afraid to reach for more food. Lay butcher paper down the middle, arrange your platters, then scatter crackers, fruit, nuts, and herbs around the table. Don't be afraid to scatter food on the table – not everything needs to be on a platter or board. Fill spaces with a floral piece or framed photos of the honorees.  

Your food should be offered in bites size portions - usually recommended to enjoy it in one or two bites. The goal is to allow your guest to have manageable and easy-to-eat items, and guests shouldn't have to use utensils. Have more oversized items cut into smaller pieces or blocks of cheese with a spreading knife available. Remember to put up a menu board or labels next to each element. Use mini blackboards, slates, or flags to let guests know what they are tasting. 

Whipped Feta Dip

This savory dip is a must-have for any grazing table. 


  • 1 8-oz block of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Zest from 1 lemon (about 1 teaspoon, packed)
  • 1 small clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Extra virgin olive, for drizzling


  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and use a small spoon to create a swirl on the surface of the dip. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
  • To make the toasted sesame seeds: In a small pan over medium heat, cook the sesame seeds, stirring frequently, until golden, for a few minutes. Watch carefully as they are quick to burn.

Artichoke Lemon Parsley Dip

A light dip that showcases the flavors of the artichoke with brightness from the lemon.


  • 1 14.5 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tablespoon cream cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lemon, zest, and juice


  • Place the artichokes, garlic, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  • Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Add 1 Tablespoon or two of the reserved oil from the artichokes for a smoother dip.
  • Serve with crackers, toasted sourdough, or a sauce for grilled meats or fish.

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