Instead of presenting your snacks or finger foods on bought trays or platters, make homemade trays or platters instead. Homemade trays or platters are most suited to foods that are presented in their own tiny individual serving containers, on your trays or platters.
For these homemade trays or platters ideas, you need to first prepare the table or tables where you will be presenting your snack platters. Why? You will be making your homemade trays or platters right at the table or tables. You won’t be able to carry your homemade trays or platters to the table if you first make them somewhere else.
The only times you may be able to first make your trays or platters elsewhere and then only carry them to the table is if for eg your homemade trays or platters do not consist of individual items and are perhpas made from pastry or other materials or ingredients that give you one solid tray or platter at the end of your creative session.
For the ideas on this page, your homemade trays or platters consist of items you arrange into a rectangle, square, round, or oval shape (or any other shape that you like or that suits the shape of the table, theme of the party, or types of food you are serving.) Then you place your small individual serving containers (with tiny finger foods or foods that require eating with a spoon or fork in these containers.)
Homemade Trays or Platter Ideas
Edible homemade trays or platters
Rectangular or square homemade edible tray ideas
Obviously when making rectangle or square trays or platters, it would be a good idea to use items with straight edges, so use edible items like slabs of chocolate (still in their wrapping), uncooked spaghetti, celery sticks, spring onions, square bicuits, slices of cheese, or fruit and vegetable slices you have cut into square or rectangle shapes.
Your individual serving containers do not have to sit directly on your edible trays or edible platters if they are also square. Use small square containers for your individual servings, and arrange your homemade tray or platter around the little containers of food for a sunken look – your food is in the tray or platter instead of on the tray or platter.
Round or other shaped homemade edible tray ideas
For homemade edible trays or platters that are not square or rectangular, your have a greater choice of food items to make use of:
Use any uncooked pasta shapes, round or odd-shaped biscuits, any shaped slices of fruit or vegetables or the fruits or vegetables themselves, and any shaped foods you like, as long as they are fairly flat or small foods, so your small individual containers on top of the “tray” do not wobble or fall over. Use chips, peanuts, dried fruit, pretzels, biltong slices, small sweets, slices of fancy breads, fresh herbs, or whatever you like or that suits the theme of the foods or party.
Non-edible homemade trays or platters
Go to town! Get creative and use whatever you like.
flowers, flower petals, leaves (lots of small leaves or just one or two huge leaves), sticks, buttons, small mats, bits of material, balls of soft wool or bunches of knotted wool, party steamers, string, lego blocks, small toys, coloured paper or cardboard (or bits of coloured paper or cardboard) small unlit candles, soaps, facecloths, small wrapped gifts, small books, tree bark, grasses, or upside down glasses, upside down pots and pans
Gifts at parties
When it comes to giving gifts at parties, whether to the birthday boy or girl, or to the expectant mom or bride to be, or to the party guests as they leave, the gifts could be opened only after everything has been eaten, because the gift items or wrapped gifts are part of your homemade trays or platters on which the food is presented – or are what forms your entire tray or platter – people have to eat everything resting on top of the tray or platter, to get to their gifts.
© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2012 and 2013