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  Planning an Appetizer Buffet

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Go for Height:
When setting up your appetizer buffet - or any other buffet or dessert table, make sure you set it with items at a variety of heights, allowing your guests' eyes to travel the table and the visual appeal will make your delicious treats look even better.

So how do you achieve this tip that comes from store merchandisers?  A buffet server with tiers is one option - they come with their own servers or with the option to use your own plates.  A variety of cake stands helps. You can also use one of our favorite tips - canned soda. Simply cover with a pretty napkin, linen or fabric remnant - and you'll have a recyclable and customizable way of displaying your food.

More and more these days we're seeing a growth in interest in cultures that enjoy relaxing over 'small bites' such as dim sum, tapas, mezes and more. This concept is a fun, and often easy, way of providing inviting appetizers for your guests.

But, just how do you plan an appetizer buffet? By focusing on a variety of tastes, textures and temperatures.  For a 2-3 hour event, you want your guests to experience 10 different tastes - these can repeat during that time, so you'd want to plan for at least 5-6 different items, providing 2-3 pieces of each per guest. 

Keep in mind these flavors:

  • Salty
  • Spicy
  • Smoky
  • Acidic
  • Bitter
  • Sweet

Keep in mind these textures:

  • Crispy
  • Creamy
  • Crunchy

Some brief guidelines for quantities:

  • Meat, 3 ounces per person

  • Cheese, 3 ounces per person

  • Chips and Crackers, 2 ounces per person

  • Dip, 2 ounces per person

  • Vegetables, 2 ounces per person

  • Fruit, 1 cup per person

  • Nuts, 1/2 ounce per person

  • Ice, 1/2 pound per person (for cooling and consuming)

More helpful hints:

Prepare as much as you can beforehand.

Prepare more food than you estimate you'll need.

The more ice the better - salt it to cool a bottle quickly.

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