With an upcoming dinner party to plan, my thoughts turn to tasting menus. Small plates, little bites, whatever you call them, I love serving many courses of tiny portions. Not only is it more fun for me, but if my guest don’t care for something they still won’t go home hungry. The planning of such a menu takes into consideration balance of flavours, textures and timing; how each dish will work with another, and how each course builds to the finale. And of course, the visual meal–how each dish is presented, what plates to use, what garnishes. More than just plunking a bunch of different things on different plates, it’s dinner theatre. And it might go something like this:

Consomme old school, clarified with raft
Microgreens with herbal foam falls in aft
A tiny little morsel of something from the sea
Then back on land for organ meat, aspic or gelee
From the sky, another tidbit, with a little stronger flavour
Then a palate cleansing sorbet, all the better way to savour
Next the feature presentation, pull all stops out for main
Introduce dessert; think something simple, never plain
A classic finish to the dinner, bring out the port and cheese
Your guests will say “I couldn’t” when they really mean “Yes, please”

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