With a passion for food and cheese, as well as 20 years industry experience as a fully qualified (and well-travelled) chef, Otto’s Deli Queen, Vanessa McKinnon finds there is always something new and inspiring happening in the world of food. Each issue, Vanessa shares her knowledge on the best when it comes to gourmet delicatessan styling and eating.



It’s that time of year again and if you are anything like me, you are hoping there will be few nice parties to celebrate surviving the end of what feels like the busiest year yet.You might even be considering having a little soiree of your own in the next couple of months.

After all, there’s that bunch of crazy girlfriends who have kept you sane in the bad times or, the work colleagues who covered your butt when necessary who all deserve a heartfelt ‘thank you’. Not to mention the swath of relatives and neighbours who will almost
certainly drop in over the Christmas period (invited or otherwise)!

Feeding the masses need not be a major stress. The secret to great entertaining is often great buying!

Seek out the quality products and showcase them in a simple way using seasonal produce… You will look like the queen of ‘effortless chic’ or the king of ‘less is more’.


Highlight your Assets
Choosing just one or two spectacular cheeses and selecting a couple of really great accompaniments along with some fresh fruit can be a great way to be a bit different. It gives your guests a way to really enjoy that particular cheese in ways they might not have before and it’s much easier to remember a few interesting nuggets about one or two cheeses rather than five or six.


Contrast or Compliment
Accessories complete the outfit!

Having something on the side to really showcase the cheese is so easy. For fruit, use pears, grapes, strawberries, figs or even kiwis instead.

A great pickle or chutney can elevate a simple cheddar to heavenly qualities and roasted pears with honey can take your Brie to new heights. There are also so many great fruit pastes and jellies available, you could try a new one every week.

But when it comes to pairing, try to avoid apples as an accompaniment to your cheeses. they actually tend to strip your taste buds clean and it won’t taste as yummy. But if all else fails, choose your favourites because what’s left will be in your fridge, serving as the perfect midnight snack!


A few things to consider when catering for a crowd…
1. Number of people   2. Does the group include children?   3. Are there any known allergies in your group?   4. Is your platter the only thing that will be on offer, or is it the beginning of a three course dinner?


Otto’s Delicatessen makes entertaining easy with an exceptional range of continental smallgoods, cheeses and antipasto mixes, sourced from the best Australian suppliers • In-house smoked meats, handmade dips and condiments • Experts in pairing complementary ingredients
• Gorgeous platters to suit your budget with professional styling
• Seasonal fruit and vegetables direct from our produce department
• Served with fresh baked breads from our Artisan Bakehaus

Otto’s Continental Deli  |  Otto’s Arcade, Illuka St, Currajong  |  0457 778 678  |