Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catering a Chocolat/Chocolate Birthday


At dinner with Sheri and Lucky weeks ago, we reminisced about Sheri's 40th chocolate themed birthday. Though it was a few years back, it prompted me to pull out these pictures of Sheri's party to share.

Sheri celebrated forty years on a spectacular summer night with special friends, music and food. The chocolate theme was not just about the food, it was inspired by the movie Chocolate (Mirimax Films 2000). Stars Juliette Binoche, who plays a woman who shakes up a French town with unique chocolate concoctions. There is a scene of a birthday party for the bittersweet landlord, played by Judi Dench,  where the food is served family style under a canopy of lights in the early evening. This is the feeling we were striving to achieve. Frankly, my dear... I think we got it!

- menu for 40 guests -

Appetizer Table
cheese, fruits and bread arrangement
bruschetta toast with fresh pomodorro sauce
tapenade, sun dried tomato baguettes
herbed fetta cheese spread, kalamata olive croustades
handmade sausage in pastry with thyme mustard
blue cheese torte with dried cherries

Dinner served family style
grilled vegetables over baby romain with pepitas and cilantro dressing
ribeye steaks with tarragon butter
grilled lamb chops with jalapeno cream sauce
ravioli with wild mushroom sherry sauce
peruvian potato salad
rustic breads with olive oil and vinegar

Desserts Table
Kahlua chocolate flan
chocolate dipped strawberries
flour less chocolate cake
chocolate cream puffs
chocolate madness cake
biscotti and other petite chocolate desserts

appetizers before sunset
The Dining table was set under an open canopy of lights covered in ivory and saffron with deep red and chocolate accents. The flowers were simple arrangements of rich red roses and chocolate colored cosmos in heart shaped glass vases. menu items were plated on terra cotta and ceramic platters, passed and placed on the table by wait staff. The menu featured summer fresh produce and simple preparation.

dinner served family style
A bountiful appetizer display featuring fine cheese, summer fruit, savory dips and spreads that compliment rustic breads and a favorite wine. The dessert was also served on a display table groaning with chocolate overload.

decadent chocolate table
For dinner ribeye steaks were roasted rare, then grilled and dotted with tarragon. Lamb chops, also grilled were served with a bit of heat from a spicy side sauce. Heart shaped ravioli sauteed in brown butter and served with shallots and wild mushrooms cooked in sherry and cream reduction. Latin flavors in the two salads were a nod to the culture of chocolate. But more than the dishes served, the act of bringing friends to the table made everything perfect.

under a spectacular lit open canopy
More often then not, movies and favorite scenes inspire great parties. Design, theme and style of service will compliment and complete the event. Bring out the swatches, pictures and ideas you love when you plan your next event and achieve delicious results!

Sheri is treated to music by a friend
preparing foods on site
guests arriving

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Better Off Red, colorful catered baby shower


I imagine my eyebrows lifted a little when Pat told me the colors for the lunch she was hosting were red and yellow. Not that there is anything wrong with the colors, having become so accustomed to the traditional pastel pallet for baby showers, I was pleasantly  surprised.

Red is strong, cheerful, a favorite for signs and the color of love. I find yellow equally charming, it makes me think of smiley faces which is a good thing, on the day of the shower, the weather wasn't a smiley kind of day.  With a moody sky overhead the choice of red, with bits of yellow, turned table linen, favors and flowers into bright welcoming beacons.

Overcast skies aside, family and friends gathered and enjoyed a lovely shower. Inside the kitchen of Pat's beautiful home, was the ideal spot to set out a simple fall lunch.


Fall Buffet Menu 
for sixty guests

orchard chicken salad with apple cider vinaigrette

dried cranberry, ginger and almond turkey salad on croissants

sun dried tomato tortilla pinwheels with deli meats and cheeses

orzo and wild rice salad

broccoli, cheddar salad with golden raisins

fresh fruit kabobs

lemon and red velvet cup cakes with cream cheese icing



Red table linens brighten the patio.
Color loves to show off, so I used white platters and glass bowls for the food for a crisp look. Glass bricks and a yellow flower pot are used to raise platters. Labels to identify dishes, are a nice way to make guests feel comfortable.


Cupcakes make dessert serving easy. To create a floating look for the lemon and red velvet treats, I used staggered glass squares over stocky cube vases for an airy stand. Glass bricks make small but pretty serving stands.


More ideas to add your event. When you entertain next, be daring, be brave, ditch the predictable shades and welcome red!