Devon and Sarah Robinson of the Red, White & Blues Farm outside of Williston entertain often and are especially fond of hosting holiday feasts. Many of the gatherings are framed by elegant tablescapes, accented by fashionably attired guests.
Celebrating the closeness of kith and kin, including their children Kadyn, Shayla and Blakely, along with Devon’s parents and farm co-owners Terry and Sharon Robinson, is part of the magic of a successful gala. As this year’s Thanksgiving fête will be the first without Sarah’s beloved grandmother Olga Wright, she will be remembered in a toast with her special “head of the table” crystal goblets.
“Food is a big part of our lives,” Sarah offers. “We break bread together. We are constantly cooking.”
Color, Abundance, Taste, Comfort
For a recent pre-holiday feast with their three children and a close family of six, the Robinsons chose tableware eclectic and adventurous in its approach, as a backdrop to fresh, locally sourced produce, including plump and juicy blueberries from the farm, saved from the summer season. Adult and children’s table “Grazing Boards” presented a splashy and bountiful centerpiece, chock full of healthy, crowd-pleasing treats. From a rustic table draped in luxurious fabric, to elegant china, some belonging to Wright, the headiness of color, textures and aroma provided a rich experience framed by heritage and friendship.
The Grazing Board
The art of creating a grazing board is in the little details. You can take many different simple food items and combine them on a board and display a visual feast. I’ve noticed that people eat less with the idea of having so much to choose from—meaning you can spend less on food for a gathering if you are creative in how you present it.
The board is created with a mix of raw natural organics, exotics, and well-known common foods.
This pleases a large group of people, including the kid’s table on the next page.
- Fruits – red and golden pears, figs, organic rainbow raisins, dried white peaches, dried raspberries, mandarin oranges, grapes, blueberries, prune plums
- Cheeses – herbed goat, BellaVitano espresso, extra sharp cheddar
- Cured meats – coppa
- Veggies – mini bell peppers, butter lettuce, tiny tomatoes
- Specialty crackers, sesame sticks
- Desserts – pirouline cookie straws, fudge dipped cookies, brownie bites
- Nuts – raw walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds
- Fresh organic herbs and edible roses
- Dried hibiscus petals and black salt for cheese garnish
Adding simple touches like fresh cut herbs, and exotic finds like black salt and edible flower petals, tells a story of the journey you took to make a special meal for someone.
A Small Taste of the Big Table
When children are among those on your guest list, create a special grazing board for them. They will delight in reaching in with their hands to sample and savor a wide range of goodies.
To create the board for youngsters, duplicate the board for adults, with these exceptions: omit the cured coppa and the BellaVitano espresso and herbed goat cheeses, and add a loaf of sesame bread they can pull apart into pieces, blueberries and mini Oreos dipped in chocolate.
Children seem to relish not having to use silverware and plates. So, once you bring them to their own special grazing table and watch them dive in with gusto, have your camera at the ready for some fun photos.
A festive feast table can be made more charming by incorporating diverse serving dishes with delicious foods.
To bring rustic elegance to a feast table, combine items such as place settings of crystal stemware and fine china with entrees such as beef stroganoff and green beans almondine served in beautifully glazed pottery dishes, roasted squash crusted with imported Italian cheeses nestled in a cast iron skillet, steaming chili in a deep dish bowl and luscious cornbread stacked on a tiered cake plate. For recipes, visit www.ocalastyle.com