The Sweet Life: Throw a Dessert-Tasting Party!
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• Contrast salty and sweet with a cheese, a rich chocolate dessert and a tart, fruit-based recipe. “People put things out in more than one spot; create several vignettes and spread things out to encourage your guests to move about,” says Stuart Kotake, director of catering and conference services at the Kahala Hotel & Resort.
• Expect each guest to use three or four small plates. Some desserts—petit fours, truffles, pecan pie tartlets—can be served with just a napkin. Place plates and napkins near each dessert vignette.
• Bring things out in stages. “Don’t use big platters; rather, make a couple of small platters, so as the food gets nibbled, you can easily refresh with a new platter,” says Kotake. Make sure the first courses are dishes with a “shelf life.” Kotake suggests a baked brie with raspberries, kept on a chafing dish, which will stay warm and gooey the whole party.
• A chocolate fountain is an easy way to create an edible centerpiece. Offer unusual dried fruit, such as cantaloupe or honeydew; decadent, warm cookies; salty mini-pretzels. Have a container with bamboo skewers, rather than using forks.