A party that precedes a sit-down dinner will need less food than one that is the main event. Likewise, an after-dinner party will also require less food because people aren't as hungry. If your party is before or after dinner, the rule of thumb is to plan on five to six types of appetizers. Guests will most likely eat one to two of each appetizer. If your party is the main event and occurs over dinner time, then serve eight to 10 types of appetizers. Guests generally eat two to three of each appetizer. Remember, you can never have too much food, so always round up in your calculations to ensure you aren't caught short on food.
Events that take place for only one to two hours need less food than those that last all evening, so plan accordingly. If your party will last into the wee hours of the night, and people are enjoying cocktails throughout, you will want to keep the appetizer table filled. For longer parties, plan on people eating four to six appetizers per person, per hour. Offer a selection of six to eight different types of appetizers, including raw vegetables and fillers like pretzels and nuts.
In general, younger men will eat more than women, seniors and children, so plan accordingly. If the majority of people attending are women, expect to serve less than you would for a party with a mixture of males and females. If you are hosting a family party that includes all ages, even children, take into account how many of each age group are attending.
It's important to offer your guests a variety of appetizers so people on restricted diets or who are watching their weight have something to eat too. Offer fresh fruit and raw vegetables and dips, as well as a variety of meat, cheeses and other appetizers. Add breads or rolls as fillers. When deciding how much food you will need, keep in mind that high-fiber foods like vegetables will fill people up longer, so you may not need as many appetizers per person as you might otherwise need.
The larger the variety of appetizers you serve, the fewer of each you will need to make. If 10 to 15 different types of appetizers are served, you won't need to load up on each type, and there is sure to be something for everyone.
There's more to hosting a wine tasting than putting out glasses and crackers. These guidelines will help make your party a soiree to remember.
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