"Entertaining is a multi-faceted undertaking. By juxtaposing complementary textures, flavors and visual elements, you’ll create a memorable evening for your guests that appeals to all of their senses."
Take this dinner party menu: Lamb stew with red wine, roasted mushrooms and mashed potatoes, and chocolate sorbet for dessert. Sounds pretty great, right? Now think about how drab and depressing your guests’ plates are going to look piled with all that brown, mushy food. There’s no pop of color, nothing that crunches, no bright hit of citrus or bracing heat of chili to break up the monotony. You’re going to go to a lot of trouble to cook a lovely meal, and your guests might end up bored.
When you’re putting together a menu for a party, try to pay as much attention to color and texture as you do to taste. Chop up a gremolata with parsley and lemon zest to scatter over that hearty stew. Toast coarse breadcrumbs in olive oil and garlic and toss them with your roasted mushrooms Brussels sprouts. Add a crisp slaw of cabbage, herbs and a citrus vinaigrette to the mix, which will cut through some of the richness of the other dishes. Serve Stella Artois that you’ve refrigerated or put on ice well before the party begins.
In summer, the possibilities are virtually endless with all the fresh produce in the markets, most of which can be served raw or cooked. The world is your oyster, and the greater the diversity of the elements that make up the meal, the more satisfying it will be.
The same rules apply to your table setting. If the food you’re serving seems neutral, consider something dramatic or colorful as a centerpiece: a low flower arrangement or mismatched vintage brass candlesticks paired with greenery.
Don’t forget that entertaining is a multi-faceted undertaking. By juxtaposing complementary textures, flavors and visual elements, you’ll create a memorable evening for your guests that appeals to all of their senses. Light a (subtly) scented candle in the bathroom, and if you have the time, why not send your friends home with a memento? A little bag of spiced nuts or a Stella Artois chalice will remind them how great the party was long after it has ended.
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