SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2007
Cheryl Binning with Winnipeg Free Press
November 03, 2007
“It’s the holidays. You are supposed to be talking with people and there are so many more mingling opportunities standing up and moving around.”
Of Course, fabulous food is front and centre at holiday parties. According to local caterers, menu favorites this season include fondue, finger food and fun appetizers with extra flair.
Most importantly, party edibles have gone modern.
Shirley Vlassie, owner of Star grill, says hosts are choosing more daring fare for their party menus, such as tempura Thai black rice rolls and cashew-encrusted brandied sesame chicken served in spoons.
“People are staying away from the sedate and conservative hors d’oeuvres and trying more exciting and unusual foods.”
This Christmas, it’s all about spicing up your party with non-traditional flavours.
“The holidays are a great time to experiment,” says Vlassie. “Instead of a regular cheese tray, serve a brie wheel with caramelized sauce poured on top. It crackles when you cut into it. It’s fun to eat.”
As well, there are many more vegetarian options on party menus. And not just sliced vegetables, but gourmet items that are sure to catch the fancy of carnivores and vegetarians alike.
Serving local foods and regional specialties is also a growing trend.
When it comes to satisfying the sweet tooth, Vlassie says the trend in desserts is toward decadent finger foods, such as tiny pastries and chocolates, rather then big cakes.
Smaller-sized sweets are not only easier to eat standing at a party, they also allow guests to try different desserts without having to commit to a big piece of any one item.
“Dainties are very big right now,” says Vlassie.
Drink and be merry is the mantra of the holidays, and when it comes to beverages, wine continues to be the most popular party drink. But just as variety is the key to modern food menus, wine choices are also expanding.
Specialty martinis are also a holiday staple because they can be made to look quite festive. Many party hosts choose red- and green- tinted martinis for the holidays, or rent an impressive champagne fountain for some extra zing.
Although food and drink are typically the stars of the party, don’t forget to pay attention to how you serve the food and decorate the tables.
“The eye eats first,” says Vlassie. “So visual presentation is important. A lovely table setting and those extra special touches will be noted by your guests.”
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