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How to Make a Gorgeous Grazing Board for Valentine’s Day: Must-Try Tips + Tricks

When it comes to holidays and get-togethers, there’s one thing foodies, party planners and hostesses all agree on: dessert boards! These lovely boards are surprisingly easy to make using what you have on hand and they add instant fun and charm to any tabletop. This Valentine’s Day, whether you’re hosting a few girlfriends or watching a movie with your sweetie or the whole family, a sweet grazing board is the perfect entertaining helper that’s sure to please everyone. We tapped pro food stylists for their best tips on building Valentine’s Day dessert boards — in minutes!

Valentine’s dessert boards idea #1: A sweet and savory board

Dessert boards: sweet and savory dessert board on table
Kate Bowler, DomestikatedLife.com

“I love making grazing boards — they showcase pretty, seasonal details while also allowing your guests to happily serve themselves,” says Kate Bowler, founder of DomestikatedLife.com. “And for Valentine’s Day, you can work in lots of sweet treats to balance out the savory elements.” She created this board that’s equal parts dazzling and delicious! To do: Fill three small bowls or ramekins with jam, small candies and your favorite soft cheese; insert serving utensils into each. Place on a long tray (Kate recommends trays with a “lip” to hold ingredients securely). Next, add larger sweets like cookies and truffles. Then add cheeses and meats, always grouping like items in sections. Fill in gaps with crackers, fruit and more.

Valentine’s dessert boards idea #2: A cozy hot cocoa board

Creating a themed board like this adorable hot cocoa one allows you to have fun with one flavor profile! Bonus: You can adjust it for every holiday with a few on-theme swaps. For a Galentine’s Day spread, set up a help-yourself carafe of hot cocoa with mugs for your guests. Then grab a white platter and place a few tiny bowls or party-store pails in the center. Fill pails or bowls with toppings or mix-ins like mini marshmallows, white chocolate chips, toasted coconut and peppermint sticks. Fill in with more bites, grouping into ‘zones,’ like wafers, crunchy chocolates, heart-shaped marshmallows and cookies. Leftover treats? Give guests to-go baggies to fill up as favors.

Valentine’s dessert boards idea #3: A fun holiday medley board

Dessert boards: mixed board on tabletop
Alisha Wolfson, BigLittleBoards

Mixing meats, cheeses, fruits, candies and more creates a varied and vibrant board, like this beautiful one created by food stylist Alisha Wolfson founder of Big Little Boards in Chatham, New Jersey. There is something for everyone!

To do: Start by placing your “anchors,” which are blocks of cheese and larger items like ramekins filled with olives or mini pickles, on a round board. Here, a block of brie is placed in the center of the board. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to remove the brie’s center; fill hole with pomegranate seeds. Next, create one or two short “rivers” by lining up cut cheese slices and rolled meats on the board. Then add other bites like candies, more meats, fruits, veggies, nuts, chocolate-covered pretzels and cookies all around board to fill in gaps. Tuck in one or two craft-store Valentine’s Day cake toppers (Buy at Amazon, $10). Tuck in fresh herbs. Place board atop festive tablecloth or napkin.

Valentine’s dessert boards idea #4: A movie night candy board

Dessert boards: movie night candy board
via The Baker Mama, TheBakerMama.com

“This Valentine’s Day board mixes up the sweet, the salty and the sour,” says food stylist Maegan Brown, founder of TheBakerMama.com and author of Brilliant Bites. “It’s perfect for a fun night spent snacking and watching sappy movies!” Brown recommends placing your largest items on the board first. To do: Set 4 heart-shaped ramekins on a deep rectangular serving tray; fill each ramekin with popcorn and holiday candies. Next, fill in the tray with a medley of Valentine’s treats (like X- and O-shaped pretzels, sour gummy treats, conversation hearts, chocolates, cinnamon candies, licorice and more), grouping like items together as you go. To finish, display the board on a table alongside small heart-shaped bowls. Tip: For simple hands-free serving, pop a spoon or two in ramekins so guests can easily fill up their individual bowls with a fun mix.

Valentine’s dessert boards idea #5: A festive brunch board

Dessert boards: brunch board
via The Baker Mama, TheBakerMama.com

“Made with crispy waffles, bacon, soft scrambled eggs, fruit and even a bit of chocolate, this brunch board is fresh, filling and an ideal start to a love-filled day,” says Brown. Her key to keeping it easy? A mini waffle maker! (Buy at Amazon, $39) To do: Cook bacon and scrambled eggs; keep warm in a 200°F oven. Next, use a waffle iron to make 2 to 3 dozen mini waffles. Place waffles down the center of a board. Add 7 heart ramekins to the board and fill with toppings (like berries, sprinkles, syrup, Nutella and more). Add a mini egg-filled pan and bacon to the board.

Valentine’s dessert boards idea #6: A sweet Galentine’s Day board

Dessert boards: Galentine's Day board
via The Baker Mama, TheBakerMama.com

“For Galentine’s Day, show your friends how much you care with this charming fudge and cheese board,” says Brown. “The star of this board is the dark chocolate fudge with sea salt. It complements the rich cheeses, cured meats and tart dried cherries.” Here, Brown chose food in various shades of red, purple, pink and white to enhance the festive appeal. To get the look, cut store-bought fudge with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and sprinkle on sea salt, or whip up Brown’s tasty recipe for “sea salt fudge.” Place fudge hearts down the center of a wooden board. Fill the rest of the board with bites (like blocks of cheese, cookies, cured meats, crackers, grapes and more), grouping like items together. To finish, add a honey-filled ramekin. Serve alongside a bottle of red wine or chilled rosé.


For more Valentine’s Day stories and entertaining ideas, check out these articles:

How to Throw a Sweet Valentine’s Day Brunch: Pro Tips + a Dazzling Ombré Cake

11 Romance Books to Make You Swoon

What’s Your Romance Style? Astrologist Weighs in Based on the Valentine’s Day Movies That Best Resemble Your Sign

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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