For those of you who often spend the holidays at formal, sit-down dinners with arranged seating alongside distant relatives who enjoy recapping their life-stories for the billionth time, you may find yourself counting down the seconds until the dinner is served. If you’re looking for a fun, different way to throw a party, consider a buffet! Not only will your guests be delighted by the wide variety of delicious options, they'll be happy to move about freely and mingle while admiring the creative flair displayed in your amazing and enticing buffet spread.
The Menu and the Buffet Basics
If I'm going to be honest here, before writing this blog post I took a look at a
wikiHow article on How to Set Up a Buffet and by the time I was done with the "Preparing the Space" section, I thought I was going to have an ulcer. The holidays should be the time to escape the angst of daily life and enjoy the company you're with, so before you start worrying about making the food and every other detail, let's just begin with the following basics:
a long table
a festive table covering
plenty of napkins and utensils
Place the table in a location that will give guests easy access and prevent crowding and bottlenecks. Now you can move on to deciding on the table setting and menu items. Feel free to create labels for the food and drinks so guests know what’s what and whose drink is whose, keeping everyone satisfied.
The Table Setting
Not everyone can pull off a beautiful table arrangement that resembles some of the artwork by
, but most of us can pull off an arrangement like a Cezanne So don't fret! Keep things visually and gastronomically interesting by displaying a variety of different platters and hors d’oeuvres. Choose a Picasso. long, narrow platter with a ceramic bowl to serve shrimp with cocktail sauce as shown here, showcase salads in elegant acacia wave bowls, and place selections of crudité, breads, and cheeses on platters and serving trays of various types and sizes, like this oval tree bark server with handle and acacia oblong footed server.
Finding the Perfect Dish
What's the perfect dish to serve at an elegant buffet? It should be easy to make, simple for guests to eat, and look great on display—kind of like this flatbread shown on our
long serving board. Try the following recipe and I'm sure your guests will be pleased: Arugula and Prosciutto Flatbread Pizza
Rectangular lavash or prepared flatbread (approximately 18 inches in length. Use two if necessary)
1/4-1/3 cup basil pesto
1/8 lb. prosciutto (very thinly sliced)
1 1/2-2 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup grape tomatoes (sliced)
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella (diced into 1/2-inch pieces)
1/4 cup Kalamata olives (halved)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
In a 400° oven, heat flatbread until it begins to slightly crisp, approximately 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and spread with pesto. Lay out the prosciutto evenly and top with the arugula, then the remaining ingredients. Lightly drizzle with EVOO. Slice and serve.
Forget the Rules: Mix the Savory with the Sweets!
Keep in mind that it’s OK to mix savory and sweet, main dish and garnishes on the same table. Nestle extras like nuts and olives in small bowls like these
square pinch bowls between the larger platters, and don’t be afraid to put a tray of cookies or mini tarts next to a salad or savory appetizer. Giving your guests a wide variety of delicious options is a sure way of guaranteeing they make multiple trips back to your buffet table.
Add a Little Height and Elevate the Experience
When your table is laden with delicious choices, creating a multilevel display will prevent guests from missing anything important. Use elevated servers like this
turntable on a glass pedestal server or a reversible tray to make sure everything is visible and accessible to your guests.
Now you have all the tips and tricks you'll need to take on the delightful chaos of throwing your own holiday buffet party this season. Good luck and enjoy!