Play Hard

Bored with your average party food? These grazing platters have something smor…

We’ve waited long enough to have guests in our houses again, so – we’re gonna impress them

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 02.06.2021

In Partnership with Smorgasbord

Finally, after what’s felt like a lifetime of waiting, we’re allowed to have other people back in our homes again.

It goes without saying that we have to be cautious, and we still have to stick to the good ol’ rule of six indoors (or two households together at any one time). But it’s here, it’s finally happened. And now the real work begins.

See, we’ve all said for the last 14 months that we couldn’t wait to have people over again. We never knew what we had until it was gone, you know? This time we’d be different, we’d have people over more, we’d try harder. Well, now it’s time to put our money where our mouths have been. And for us here at HLN at least, that means focusing on one place more than any other – the dining table.

Because yes, everyone loves a ‘picky tea’. And yes, there may be a reason party sausages on cocktail sticks with pineapple and cheese have remained a family fave for the last seven decades. But that doesn’t mean we should feel ourselves pigeon-holed, right? That shouldn’t mean we can’t break away from the norm for this most celebrated of occasions and have a party tea that’s a little more, well, sophisticated.

That being said, cultivating a sophisticated dining menu – as well as everything else that goes into being the host with the most (cleaning, tidying, decorating, organising your guests, getting yourself ready) – seems like just another thing to stress about. But not if you enlist the help of your friendly neighbourhood culinary chevalier, Smorgasbord.

Whether dropping by their incredible deli – which is stocked full of only the best locally-sourced cheese, charcuterie and chutneys – to stock yourself up, or asking them to manage the whole operation with one of their custom-made, elegantly presented grazing tables or luxury buffets, Smorgasbord have got you covered. Trust us: if bragging rights is what you’re after, bragging rights is what you shall have with the help of these guys.

We caught up with dining don Amy Heslop to find out all about this delicatessen with a difference.

 

What’s Smorgasbord all about?

There are two sides to Smorgasbord: the home catering service we offer, and our fantastic delicatessen on Park View. With both, the focus is on supplying top-quality products which are locally sourced, wherever possible, and making sure that they look as good as they taste.

 

 

Our catering services are unique in that we can cater for as few as two people up to groups of hundreds (when large groups are permitted again!). Whether your event is small or large, we want you to feel that you’re receiving a luxury service and are enjoying a real treat. We create grazing boxes, platters and tables using some amazing ingredients – including British artisan cheeses, charcuterie, homemade dips and locally-made chutneys and relishes. We hope that every element of our boards and tables complement each other and make for a delicious feast.

Have you always worked with food?

My professional background is not in food at all actually! My career had been in management and consultancy in the Health and Social Care sector. I’ve worked freelance for many years and still do on my ‘day off’ from Smorgasbord!

Smorgasbord started almost as an extension of my favourite hobby. You may be able to guess that food is a huge passion for me, my family and my friends! I love cooking, eating out and trying new foods and recipes. Food is at the heart of everything we do when we socialise, and I really think there’s nothing better than sharing wonderful food (and obviously good wine) together.

Your grazing tables, platters and boxes are amazing! How do you go about customising these to suit your customer’s exact tastes? 

Thank you so much! Whenever a customer enquires about one of our services, I ask them about any likes or dislikes that they may have and accommodate these, trying to make sure that I incorporate their favourite foods into their order and leave out anything that they aren’t as keen on. No platter or table ever looks exactly the same, so my customers are always getting a completely unique grazing experience.

You also mentioned your Whitley Bay deli – what do you offer there?

The main focal point in the deli is our cheese counter, where I stock a range of fabulous – and predominantly British – cheeses. There are some that are really popular, so I try to keep them in stock all the time. But I also add new cheeses into the mix every so often, so there’s always something different available for our regular customers to try.

I also stock a selection of British-made charcuterie; locally-made chutneys and relishes from Yummy Things and The Northumbrian Pantry; locally-made wine from Laneberg Wine; beers that are made near North Shields Fish Quay by Three Kings Brewery, and plenty more. The focus is very much on showcasing some of the brilliant products that are being made right here in our area – and offering our customers something that they won’t see in the supermarket.

 

Using locally-sourced ingredients and homemade products is very important to you. Why is that?

Because they taste better! When you’re buying a product that’s been made in small batches by a person who is genuinely passionate about the product they’re making, it shows. It tastes so much better than something that’s mass-produced.

 

What’s one of your favourite delicacies you’re stocking right now?

Oh, that’s hard because I’m genuinely proud of everything I stock… But I do love the British Blue cheeses. Each one has such a unique flavour. We’ve also recently started to stock salamis from The Cumbrian Salami Company – they have such a great range and they’re some of the best I’ve tasted.

What would be your dream catering gig?

A beautiful, British summer wedding in an outdoor area with lots of guests – what could be happier or more wonderful?! Especially after people have waited so long for any kind of celebration!

When you’re not working, where in the North East are you most likely to be? 

I really like to get outdoors after spending my days in the deli, so I’ll often be down on Whitley Bay beach with our two sausage dogs, Hugo and Henry.

Other than that, I love eating out and I’m so excited that restaurants are open again now. We’re absolutely spoilt for choice for amazing places to eat in the North East, so I’ll be definitely be making up for lost time and visiting all my favourites this Summer.

What are your ambitions for the future of Smorgasbord?

It’s been such a strange year to open a business so, at the moment, I’m really just grateful that we’re open, our catering bookings are filling up for the Summer and we’ve got such a lovely client base at the deli.

I intend to grow the Smorgasbord team so that we have more capacity to take on more bookings in the future, so we’ll see where it goes from there!

To find out more about Smorgasbord and see some of Amy’s incredible grazing platters, visit their website, Facebook page or Instagram

Or drop into the deli and say hi: Smorgasbord Deli, 61 Park View, Whitley Bay, Newcastle NE26 3RL

 

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