You won't find the cheapest party platters at Whole Foods, but you will find a great selection. Every store offers nearly the same core assortment, which includes things like cheese platters, fruit platters, and deli meat platters. Then stores supplement with creative options like mac and cheese croquettes in Minnesota, empanadas in Los Angeles, and stuffed potato skins in New York City. Plus, the ingredients used in these trays have the same standards as the products on the shelves — that means they're often organic and free of GMOs, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
Which Whole Foods' platters should you order for your next party?
1. Mediterranean Platter
Of the core options you can get at any store, the Mezze Platter (aka the Mediterranean Platter) is the consistent favorite because it offers a big variety of foods that can satisfy everyone, no matter what their dietary needs. It features an assortment of hummus, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, dolmas, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, olives, and pita bread. It's $89.99, which sounds like a lot but it serves 16 and is really a lot of food! There's also a $49.99 option, which serves eight.
If your store offers empanadas, give them a try. They're easy to reheat and made by Tomasa, a family company using a generations-old recipe. They come in three flavors — chicken, beef, or spinach — for about $2.50 per empanada.
Skewers are always a big hit at parties, and most Whole Foods stores offer a variety of options like teriyaki chicken, Thai chicken, honey soy steak, and sesame tofu. At $20 per dozen, they're less than $2 each.
4. Crab Cake Platter
Although it's not available at every store, the crab cake platter is another great choice. It's really hard to go wrong with crab cakes, and Whole Foods' consistently get great reviews. They're about $6.50 per hefty, four-ounce cake and make a fancy impression.
5. Bruschetta Bowl
The bruschetta bowl combines fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives, capers, basil, garlic, and olive oil — which guests can scoop up onto crusty slices of toasted ciabatta. It's $45 for 15 to 20 servings, and it sure beats cutting up tomatoes by hand.
The Trays to Skip at Whole Foods: Cheese Platters
Although Whole Foods offers nice cheese platters with a good variety of artisan cheeses that are usually specific to that store's region, it's $40 for a small platter. It's usually cheaper to buy the same stuff individually at the cheese counter and assemble your own platter.
Got any other suggestions to add? Do you have a party platter that you always get from Whole Foods when you're hosting a crowd? Tell us about it in the comments below!