The formal dinner party is wonderful for entertaining the boss and his wife and it is nice to do things formally, sometimes. However, the dinner party is rather limiting and not very adaptable. Most people, today, prefer to entertain informally. Entertaining more than six or eight people to a formal dinner party is impossible, unless you have your own chef and waiting staff or you can afford professional caterers.
In any case, when you want to invite several people, conversation between guests is limited to those sitting near to one another. Throwing an appetizer or hors d’ouvres party is a wonderful and adaptable way to entertain. An informal appetizer party ensures that your guests will talk to more than two or four people and that you enjoy your own party, without being harassed, looking like a beetroot, or worrying. You can make your appetizer party more formal should you wish to do so, with small food portions similar to a restaurant tasting menu.
Appetizers are small portions of food, usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Cuisines around the world have versions of appetizers, from the French hors d’oeuvres to Spanish tapas. They are little tasty dishes. Many appetizers can be prepared and or frozen well in advance meaning that you can do little things towards your party over several weeks before your party. In addition, the beauty of an appetizer party is that it can be simple or gourmet and it suits any time of day. It is immaterial whether you have your party mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon, early or late evening. An appetizer party is perfect for any occasion.
First, decide when you want to have your party. Pick a date and time, decide whether you want people to arrive at a particular time or are you having an informal open-house party, and send out your invitations or make your telephone calls.
Decide on your menu. You could pick all finger food or food that only requires a fork. You could choose a themed menu, perhaps serving appetizers from a particular country, Children’s party food, elegant hors d’oeuvres or something else. When you serve appetizers at your party, your imagination can run riot.
Always try recipes out before cooking them for any special occasion. There is nothing more stressful, and wearing, than relying on an unfamiliar recipe, only to find it goes wrong on party day. Consider whether the flavours in your menu dishes balance one another out, if you are making some rich highly flavoured dishes you need some simple fresh flavours to balance them. Consider the time of year, the weather, and the time of day, and plan your menu accordingly. When deciding your menu, think about refrigerator and oven space available. Eight or nine appetizers per person are usual, if there is no meal to follow. Appetizers that you can prepare and make ahead, and only need warming through will save pressure on you.
Buffet style service is more informal and encourages conversation and mingling between guests, as they serve themselves. Foods requiring slicing, spreading, and cutting, can cause traffic jams at the table.
You should also decide what drinks or beverages to serve. If you are serving alcohol, do ensure that you also serve non-alcoholic drinks, for non-drinkers and those who must drive.
Music will make the party go with a swing, but not if it is so loud that your guests cannot hear one another. You might want to suit the music to the party’s theme, for example, seasonal songs for a Christmas party, or the guests’ age group, whereas a quiet cocktail party is better suited to easy listening music.
Decorate the party room with fresh flowers, decorations, or candles depending on the occasion and the mood that you wish to create.
There are some great recipes on the internet for appetizers, even for appetizers from different cuisines. There are even recipes for inexpensive appetizers for those not wishing to break the budget. You can even find seasonal appetizers for festive parties.