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TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Tasting Dinner Of Mini Courses

Create a tasting menu with numerous small
courses. Photo courtesy Pollen Restaurant |


We served a tasting menu last night: twelve courses.

How can someone eat 12 courses? It’s easy if the courses are small—just a taste of everything, with artistic garnishes.

Consider creating your own tasting menu: Everyone will have a great time. The small bites may seem like “not enough food” at first; but over the course of the dinner, everyone will be nicely full.

Make anything you like. Here’s what we had, but your course can be anything:

  • COURSE 1: One oyster garnished with seaweed, pickled onions and cilantro, served with Chablis.
  • COURSE 2: One or two grilled jumbo shrimp with green (herb) mayonnaise, served with Sauvignon Blanc.
  • COURSE 3: Small plate of pasta in pesto sauce with one large mussel, served with Chardonnay.
  • COURSE 4: One small scoop lemon sorbet topped with grated lemon or lime zest, served in a shot glass. Garnish with an optional teaspoon of Limoncello or citrus vodka, or serve it in a shot glass, next to the shot glass of sorbet.

  • COURSE 5: Soup served in espresso cups, juice glasses, brandy snifters or other small vessels. We served gazpacho garnished with fresh mint, served with the Chablis. We perched a baby carrot with goat cheese dip on the saucer.
  • COURSE 6: Fresh corn salad garnished with a grape tomato and a side of garlic toast (toasted sliced baguette with garlic butter), served with Sauvignon Blanc.
  • COURSE 7: Three slices chicken with Asian seasonings, on a small bed of purple forbidden rice, garnished with chives and served with Merlot.
  • COURSE 8: Three slices grilled Certified Angus beef with sautéed baby vegetables, served with Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • COURSE 9: One or two small pieces of cheese (total two ounces) on a bed of dressed baby greens, continuing with the Merlot and Cabernet.
  • COURSE 10: Key lime tartlet topped with crème fraîche and a fresh raspberry.
  • COURSE 11: One miniature brownie with coffee whipped cream (flavored whipped cream recipes).
  • COURSE 12: Coffee with optional coffee liqueur and mignardises—miniature baked goods including petit-fours, mini macaroons and cookies, along with small truffles and other chocolates.

    It’s not as much work as you’d think: We made everything 2-3 days in advance except last-minute touches like whipped cream.

    Where Do You Get All The Plates?

    We’ve been collecting lunch, salad and dessert plates for years—six to eight inches in diameter—when we see them on sale (garage sales are a great source of inexpensive plates).

    You don’t want full-size dinner plates because the portions are small. But we place the smaller plates on chargers, so there’s a large plate footprint in front of everyone.

    The plates don’t have to match. In fact, an array of different designs/shapes will enliven the table.

    You can borrow plates from your guests; and you can also purchase reusable quality plastic plates. We like these square plates.

    Let us know about the favorite courses you serve.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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