THE DEVIL'S IN THE DETAIL
Let your style of dining table arrangement reflect the mood of the party. For an informal gathering, a muted tablecloth laid with tableware in a contrasting colour works best. Minimalistic and patterned stone crockery is catching on. Pair these with a white tablecloth for maximum effect. Want to avoid jarring colours? Place fresh flowers on the table.
FOCUS ON APPETIZERS
It's trendy to go all-out on appetizers and serve just one or two innovative mains. Platters of tapas and canapés, accompanied by great wine, put guests at ease. Usually, one carb-heavy dish is great at the end, such as a creamy lasagne or a pilaf with tossed veggies . A single live station that serves pastas or crepes is another favourite.
MENU WITH A VARIETY
Instead of cold-shouldering the vegetarians, try to incorporate their dietary requirements. Stock a wide range of appetizers that will suit vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians who may be allergic to shrimp. These are basic restrictions that are easy to accommodate. Focus on seasonal ingredients because these bring out the best flavours.
INDULGE THE SWEET TOOTH
There are no 'shoulds' in dining and entertaining. However, as a guideline, we would say that a grand dessert - such as a decadent chocolate fudge - is perfect if you have called a few friends over. But if you're hosting a large group, a variety of desserts is sure to delight your guests. Explore options with fruit, chocolate and minimal sugar.
In case you are serving food buffet-style, arrange for seats that allow more than three or four people to sit together. Quirky place cards based on the theme of your party is another concept that's catching on. It encourages mingling among guests.
Neha Manekia & Joshua D'Souza are founders of Silverspoon Gourmet, Mumbai