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Is there an easy way to make buffet-style dinner feel elegant?

Another question for the entertaining tips of our Holiday iPad app! What do you do at the holidays? We want your tried and true.

This is from your friendly editors at Food52.

asked almost 5 years ago
10 answers 4150 views
62da2e3c 5d4a 4c43 a2ed feb7f39ad363  with ab
added almost 5 years ago

beautiful serving platters and serveware!

2f4926e2 248b 4c22 a6f7 8f2d888b8488  3 bizcard
sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 5 years ago

Jessica is right the serving platters and decor can really make it elegant. I went to a buffet once and the hostess used her most beautiful platters and tableware. She had a lovely tablecloth, cloth napkins and stunning utensils and glassware. Here dining room was beautifully decorated for the holidays and everyone was so impressed with how beautiful this was set up you would not even think about the fact that it was a buffet. I think it's presentation that can really make a buffet elegant.

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added almost 5 years ago

I like to cut up/organize a few different types of edible garnish (grapes clusters, cherry tomatoes, olives, sprigs of herbs, etc) and set them aside in the fridge. As I make each platter up, I pull from the garnishes to make each item a little extra special. Because it's already cut in appropriate sizes, it really doesn't take any extra effort. Serving sparkling wine instead of champagne is also a more affordable way to make any dinner party feel elegant. I also like to make custom wine glass tags that can be put in a basket or laid out... and people can find their name and keep track of their glass all evening.

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added almost 5 years ago

Yes to what has been said and candles, candles, candles - all sizes and shapes - from tea-lights to tapers to whatever else you have. Lighting can make everything more elegant. Greens brought in from the outside as decorations in large containers. I have a relatively small space and divide salads, entrees and desserts in different buffet areas. Especially works to have desserts have its own tables. Printed menu cards so people don't say "Do you know what this is?"

C4b35b3e a030 4605 bcae f5a7ba4644f4  sausage2
fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

added almost 5 years ago

I agree too that beautiful platters, bowls, and serve ware are important, as is an elegant tablecloth or runner. I like to use interesting beautiful (mostly antique) vessels to hold things like silverware and napkins. You can also sprinkle small low decorations - branches, wreathes, little terrarium-like containers, wintery floral arrangements around and about. And like SKK said candles make everything feel more elegant, though you have to be careful about where you place them. And lastly, just make sure the food is laid out elegantly and thoughtfully on the platters. Plating dishes nicely can have a huge impact.

0dcfb05c 8a90 480f 8cf7 cbc33e9a6b5c  me
added almost 5 years ago

I always go for flowers. Baby orchids make anything look fabulous. Macaroni and cheese knee deep in baby orchids is awesome. Plus having prosecco or sparkling wine (or, if you're flush real champagne) already poured in champagne flutes (with maybe strawberries?) on a beautiful tray makes it totally special.

6f614b0c 899e 467f b032 d68711f70a39  2011 03 07 18 28 41 870
added almost 5 years ago

I agree with all the suggestions above: your best serving dishes & china, crystal glasses, fancy candles, and beautiful flowers. Either sparkling wine or some sort of special cocktail to start things off. And, my best little black dress! Don't stop with flowers on the table, I also put a small bouquet in the guest bathroom and around the house to make the whole place feel special. Party favors are also nice, maybe some nice home made goodies made with Food52 recipes?

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 5 years ago

I agree with the above. To add a little interest to the table stack up books in different locations at different heights under the tablecloth. When you put your platters out they are attractively displayed at different heights.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 5 years ago

I agree with the above. To add a little interest to the table stack up books in different locations at different heights under the tablecloth. When you put your platters out they are attractively displayed at different heights.