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The Snack Tray: My Hosting "Superpower"

Snack Tray guide simple charcuterie

I don’t think I’m very good at hosting. I enjoy it and wish I did it more often but I would not say it’s one of my gifts or “superpowers.” I always create a whole lot of extra work for myself to make it all happen but with that, I have learned some tricks to make it easier for me and hopefully more special for my guests.

While I make a lot of lists and do so much prep work behind the scenes, probably the best thing I do is actually quite simple: I make a snack board. Some might call it “charcuterie,” and that’s fine if you do but I just like it simple (and with my own rules).

It’s basically just putting snacks together in a pretty display and allowing your guests to graze while they wait, after dinner or whenever. It takes a little bit of prep work but it’s so very worth it for lots of reasons. Here are my biggest ones.

1. It buys you time. This is quite obvious but when it’s ready early, you have some extra time before food or an activity has to be ready. Encourage lots of snacking to keep people happy, busy and not hangry. I try to have mine out about 30 minutes before my people are supposed to arrive. That gives the cheese time to not be too cold and also allows for any early arrivers.

2. It’s a way to care about your people. They may have no idea at all, but I really try to have my people’s favorites on the tray. I know who likes what cheese; what kids live off fruit and who only eats that one veggie. I try my best to be sure those things are stocked and ready for that person. It’s just a simple way to practice hospitality. They’ll feel it even if they have no idea you added that item for them.

3. It gives you grace. While it’s always good to know what people like before they get there (see above) we still may run into a situation where someone might not like what we’re serving, especially kids! A snack tray gives both of you grace for this. They can have plenty to eat and you don’t have to worry if something else doesn’t work.

4. You can do it your way. Who cares if you don’t have the finest block of artisanal cheese. If you do, enjoy it but feel free to whip up a snack tray whenever. Make it a meal. I’ve made super simple versions so much that when Tripp has friends over they ask for it. I’m basically cleaning out the fridge, but they find it so special. One even said “You could open a restaurant!” because I served him the last of the turkey, pretzels and some fruits and veggies on tray. Winning!

5. It can be easy. This means for you and your guests. Have plates and napkins (I love these paper plates that don’t look paper) for those who don’t want to graze. Have tongs, little picks, serving pieces all ready for easy to “serve yourself.” And give them permission to start snacking immediately.

For yourself, prep early. Prepare the produce so you just have to put it in its place. Mix the dips and put them their bowls with a spoon. I like to designate one drawer in the fridge for all my items so I can just take it out and assemble in no time

Bonus Tip: If you have a big crowd to serve, ask someone to help you refresh. Tell them where the extras are so you have a partner ready to keep an eye on everything and can refill as needed too.

6. It can be fun. I’m not against proper “Charcuterie.” It can be an art. We went to a nicer restaurant and got their Charcuterie made of all local things for an appetizer and it was absolutely divine. If this is how you roll at home, do it. That means it’s fun for you. If that seems intimidated or just “not fun,” that’s ok too. Do what is fun for you and what works that day. Sometimes my trays are full of homemade crostini (like I made the bread too), bruschetta fresh from the garden, homemade pickles and the like and other days it’s what’s left from the fridge.

Bonus Tip: this is where are Charcuterie Cheat Sheets are a game changer! Let them be your guide  and you can be as fancy, simple, fun or just clean out your fridge to feed your people.. and absolutely beautiful! Shop them all here

charcuterie cheat sheet


Call it whatever you want to, but a "Snack Tray," is always a good idea. Make it fancy or keep it simple (better yet use these)  and tell us what time to be there! 

Check out this Lazy Girl's Guide to Charcuterie for a few more tips on how to keep it simple and special.  


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