FOOD & ENTERTAINING

How to Build the Ultimate Tapas Board

How to Build the Ultimate Tapas Board
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For those who love to entertain, the key to pleasing a roomful of guests—and yourself—is finding food that's fresh and delicious, but also easy to prepare.

Few things are more low-maintenance than a tapas board, a selection of light snacks or appetizers arranged on a platter. But it's not as simple as just throwing a bunch of stuff on a piece of wood. Thanks to health guru and #fitspo queen Lorna Jane Clarkson, and her just-released coffee-table book Inspired ($60; lornajane.com), we now know the art of assembling the perfect one. "Not only do tapas boards look great, but they allow your guests to individualize their food combinations and portions," Clarkson tells InStyle. "I try to make mine as healthy as possible without compromising on what I know they'll love," (read: plenty of bread). Scroll down for some instructions straight from the chef herself. 

Inspired by Lorna Jane Clarkson
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The Art of Building the Ultimate Tapas Board

1. Start with the base. Find a long, wooden chopping board ($15; surlatable.com) or serving platter to use as the centerpiece of your creation.

2. Experiment with shape. Collate a collection of ramekins, bowls, and jars that can be used as the vessels for your recipes. Experimenting with various shapes and sizes add versatility and visual interest to the board.

3. Pick your produce. Sweet or savory, hot or cold, it's up to you. We prefer to pick a bounty of flavors that compliment each other, and look visually amazing on the board. Think goat cheese and apple, or the classic combo of strawberries and chocolate.

4. Color-coordinate.  It's Clarkson's belief that the food should be the star of the show. Picking produce that is colorful and vibrant will make your board stand out and make it too irresistible for your guests to deny.

5. Assemble. Positioning is key. When assembling your food, think about shapes, variations, and volume. Try and strike the perfect balance—you don't want to have too much dip and not enough crackers.

6. Finesse. Style your heart out to ensure that everything is to your liking and has ticked the previous criteria. Once you have buffed, polished, and shined, you can present your culinary creation to your party guests. Voilà!

RELATED: Lorna Jane Clarkson Explains Her Healthy Eating Philosophy (It Includes Chocolate-Covered Bananas!)

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