Your next dinner party should start with a solid plan, says Courtney Kern, founder of Events Beyond. Here, Kern and other entertaining experts chime in to help you select appetizers that fit the event you are hosting.
If you know your guests' tastes, styles, likes and dislikes, you can customize your menu, but consider serving new and different appetizers as well. "I personally always recommend tossing in a few appetizers that might be a surprise for your guests," says Kern.
Are you hosting a midday brunch, an afternoon tea or a formal evening dinner party? The day and time of your event "will help you to select cold versus hot foods, family- or buffet-style and so on," Kern says.
For inspiration on your next appetizer, visit your local specialty market, cheese shop or wine store.
— Courtney Kern
"If you're planning to have many dishes, be sure the appetizer is something that's ready to go when guests arrive -- ideally something that can be made in advance," says Jackie Newgent, culinary nutritionist and author of Big Green Cookbook.
"Keep the appetizers of a similar taste profile to the rest of the festive dishes," Newgent says. "If you're planning a Mediterranean feast for your party, you won't want to serve a Thai appetizer."
Avoid extra-spicy appetizers. "Be sure your appetizers tempt the palate for the remaining dishes rather than overwhelm the palate," says Newgent.
"A veggie appetizer option will please those who want to enjoy something healthful first, knowing that rich dishes or desserts are likely to come," says Newgent. Bonus: it will please vegetarians, too.
"If your entrees or larger plate items are going to be meaty," says Newgent, "then go for mainly vegetables or seafood appetizers, and vice versa."
Event planner Karen Zachary loves a variety of flavors, colors, textures and shapes and offers these appetizer tips. You want:
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