We’re not going to sugar-coat this…or maybe we are! Dessert only parties are sweeeet! Desserts by nature are beautiful, colorful, and make for a great reason to host a cocktail party! But no need to fret the details, Messina’s Catering and Events has provided some insight to make planning your dessert only event, well, as easy as pie. All puns intended!
Dessert only Variety
Desserts are all visually beautiful and delectable, so when they are the star of the show the key is variety. Think of various textures and flavors, offering contrasting morsels that are light and rich, smooth and crunchy, airy and dense, and sweet and tart. There are so many types of dessert, that no matter what the event, have fun with variety. Desserts are spectacular sights themselves, so consider having some plated, stationed or on a buffet, with others being passed. However the desserts are presented, a major key to a dessert only event is to have small bite sized portions of each. We eat with our eyes first, and sometimes those eyes are big (hasn’t your mother always told you that?). Having small portion sizes allows your guests to sample your assortment, without slipping into a sugar coma before they’ve made it past their second bite.
Although a dessert only event may be thematic in in of itself, incorporating a stylized theme elevates the occasion and customizes the type of event you host.
Pulling off a posh dessert-only event is completely do-able. Go with a Black-Tie theme and let the iconic tuxedo serve as inspiration for desserts served. (simonsezit) Think the classic black and white cookie, black forest cake, tuxedo cake, pots de crème, tiramisu, and Oreo truffles. Ensure that fine, coordinating linens are on all tables and use luxury serving platters like silver, crystal and china. Incorporate tiered serving ware so that your desserts show off their elegance. And for that extra flair, flambé is a must. Messina’s has a spectacular Flaming Crêpe Suzette station that is perfect for such occasions.
Desserts are so versatile that they can work with a casual, laid back theme as well. Go with Down on the Farm where desserts are less fancy and more rustic in nature. (britespanbuildings.com) Think of homemade classics like fruit pies, cobblers, tarts, upside-down cakes, crumb cakes, strawberry shortcakes, smores and lemon bars. Have small, imperfect cut portions that guests can grab with their hands and pop in their mouths. Decorate with checkered tablecloths, or Grandma’s quilted piece, wicker serving platters, and assorted flowers that look handpicked. Set the mood with some fun music – maybe something with a banjo or fiddle. Finally, have some paper sacks ready so your guests leave with a sweet treat – like a bake sale, but as a nice favor instead.
Seasonal and holiday themes are fun for dessert parties as well. Autumn just begs for pies, apple desserts, and everything pumpkin. For winter or Christmas, serve up lots of yule logs, fruit cakes, reindeer bark, warm bread pudding, chocolate lava cake, and poached pears. Make sure the hot chocolate is flowing as well.
Pick your favorite locale and theme your desserts accordingly. Messina’s has been serving New Orleans’ favorites like King Cake – a Mardi Gras fave that is basically a huge cinnamon roll iced in Mardi Gras colors; pralines, Doberge cake – a decadent treat with multiple layers of cake and pudding; and of course, beignets. Get the jazz going, hand out the Mardi Gras bling, and “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (aka Let the Good Times Roll)!
Around the World
Take your guests on an exotic journey of sweets. Feature exotic desserts from around the globe such as Indian Rasmalai – ricotta cheese dumplings in a sweetened milk flavored with cardamom; Mexican Tres Leches – a creamy sponge cake made with three kinds of milk, Turkish Baklava – thin layers of phyllo with chopped nuts drenched in honey; or Egyptian Basbousa – cake made from semolina soaked in a rose or orange blossom syrup. And of course, you can showcase a whole assortment of fine treats with French desserts alone – crème brulee, tartes, macarons, clafoutis, and so much more.
The type of drinks served for a dessert party are crucial, and coffee is a must. For an upscale theme, go for an espresso bar. The drinks themselves can be part of the desserts as well, like Kahlua or Baileys with cream, Red Velvet Cake Martinis and the classic Jell-O Shot (topped with whip cream of course). Also consider pairings, like red wine and dark chocolate, bourbon and sweet potato pie, or Cider and salted caramel cake. For the sophisticated affair, champagne and dessert parties are the rage – Gatsby anyone? Your caterer can help you determine the best drinks as well.
Having a dessert only event not only saves on costs, it also offers a fun alternative to the traditional dinner party. Work with your caterer on your dessert menu. Typically, the event should be hosted at an appropriate time so guests will know to fill up on dinner beforehand – usually after 8pm. Ensure that your invitation clearly notes that only dessert will be served so that guests can plan accordingly. Dessert only events are perfect for weddings, bridal or baby showers, and housewarming events.
Hosting at Home
Throw your sweet party at home! Warm and inviting, it’s the perfect type of event to host in your home. To ensure that it’s stress free for you, consider full service catering. Messina’s makes it easy to have a dessert party at home. Leave the mixing, baking, and caramelizing to us. Messina’s Catering and Events has provided full service catering to the New Orleans area for over 58 years. We were recently selected by New Orleans CityBusiness readers as one of the Best Caterers for the 3rd year in a row