Sunday, September 30, 2007
Sense-ational dinner party idea
There’s nothing like a fantastic dinner party – and to make your dinner party REALLY stand out and become a wonderful and memorable experience I suggest catering to all the senses – sight, smell, touch, hearing and most importantly taste!
My partner and I had one of our best culinary experiences in a restaurant called The Dark Side - there was not a ounce of light in the dining room.
Initially, we were ushered into a bar where we got to see the menu and we picked our meals. Then the waiter came wearing night vision glasses to escort us to our table.. it was pitch black..
At first I could feel my anxiety levels rising but then I relaxed into the experience. My senses were on high alert. I listened to the chatter of nearby diners.
I smelt the food as it was being delivered.. the aromas filled our senses. I smelt spices and could identify certain subtle smells that I would never have before even noticed..
Then you had to try to get the food onto your fork. This alone proved more fun than frustrating.
The food was delicious - I enjoyed it immensely - the textures and the flavors were amazing. The experience brought home the fact that I had usually taken this experience for granted - even though I may have enjoyed a flavor it was never to this extreme. t So, my suggestion to you is to make sure your next dinner parties focus on the senses - make it extreme. Have a good think about how you can make an impression on each. For instance -
Sight – how can you decorate your dining area – whether inside or outside? What colors will you use? What color tablecloth, napkins, flowers, candles, center pieces? Will you hang flowers from a tree by your outdoor setting? Can you place a spotlight onto the tree using a colored bulb? You have so many options to consider. What sort of lighting will people experience at your table?
Smell – what aromas will be filling the air as your guests arrive? The smell of your dinner if you’re cooking no doubt – garlic maybe? Or the smell of a scented candle?
What pleasure to the ear can you bring to your guests? Imagine walking into a house where someone has hired a harpist or a string quartet. I have personally experienced this for a special occasion dinner and it has left it’s mark on my memory permanently. But it needn’t cost you anything – you can play a CD or two. Have a good think about some CDs you might play and in what order.. I’d suggest putting some thought into this. Make sure the music is great as background and that the levels are just right. You don’t want people to have to shout in order to be heard.
What about touch? Can you kiss your guests or shake their hands warmly as they arrive? Can the meal involve people using their hands somehow in the preparation or can you provide ingredients so that they can roll a course – like a Vietnamese hand roll? Or fill their own taco? Can they be dipping strawberries into melted chocolate when it come dessert time? Think about the texture of foods as they hit the tongue.
And last but certainly not least there’s taste. What flavors will you serve? Don’t forget to check what sort of foods your guests don’t or can’t eat. In fact, I always like to ask my guests what they like eating.. When I was asked this question by someone on an invitation to their dinner party it made me feel pretty special.
As I write this article it makes me realize just how sensual an experience food can be. Sure, you can prepare an incredibly romantic dinner party around the senses but it’s important to consider satisfying the senses of any guest you have to dinner – that is, if you want to host the perfect dinner party!
Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.
In the meantime, you might want to take a look at this coffee - it's decaffeinated so great for those who want a coffee at the end of the meal but don't want to stay awake all night:
The Hostess with the Mostess