Whether you use it as a tabletop platter to serve hors d’oeuvres or as a footed tray to enjoy breakfast in bed, a serving tray can be both practical and attractive. Here’s how to select one for everyday use or for a special occasion.
Choosing a Functional Serving Tray
Consider how you’ll use your tray, then look for the following qualities:
• Food Safety. Not all trays are designed for direct contact with food. If you plan to lay out your meals or place finger foods on a tray, check to see if it’s labeled as food safe. Also, choose one that’s easy to clean.
• Weight and Grip. For a durable and easy-to-carry cocktail tray, look for one that’s lightweight and strong, like a wooden or metal food tray. A stainless steel or wood serving tray with handles makes it easier to balance and get a solid grip.
• Special Features. Some kitchen serving trays come with their own dishes—like bowls for chips and dip. Others have cutouts for carrying cups, plates or wine bottles. To keep cold foods and wines chilled, select a tray with a compartment for ice. Look for kitchen trays that have anti-slip coating or feet on the bottom to protect your tables and countertops.
For large gatherings and parties, pair your serving trays with chafing dishes that match for an elegant display.
Serving in Style
Serving platters can be a decorative accent in your home. Choose a style that’s inspiring and adds to your everyday decor or makes a statement at a special occasion.
For an heirloom look, select a hammered metal or mirrored serving tray. Natural materials such as granite, marble and slate are on trend, yet they’re a timeless choice. For a playful look, select bright colors and patterns on ceramic, melamine or plastic trays. To delight dinner party guests, use a slate serving tray, which doubles a blackboard. Use soapstone chalk to describe cheeses or draw simple decorations.
When you’re not using the tray for entertaining, use it as a stylish accent for an ottoman, bench or coffee table. A decorative serving tray can even become a work of art. Hang it on the wall or prop it upright on a shelf in the kitchen or family room.