Out of the Box

Add panache to your home party with these unusual wine and food serving tips.



A recent dinner at Il Mosaico on the island of Ischia began with a breathtaking amuse-bouche served in a jewelry box. The boxes were presented closed, and then opened to reveal the edible delights within. This had us thinking about offbeat but elegant ways to serve wine and food at our own dinner parties. Impress your guests with these innovative approaches:

Small frames with a photo under the glass are great for single bites like a piece of cheese and can also set the mood for theme parties. Use customized photos; for sushi, try a beach shot, or for an Italian aperitivo, a photo of Michelangelo’s David.

Many restaurants serve wine by the glass in a quartino, a small decanter that holds a little more than a glass. A bud vase allows guests to pour at their own pace.

Don’t just cook in your gourmet pans, serve in them. Use similar-sized pans in place of plates for a main course or appetizer. Le Creuset pans come in a variety of vibrant colors.

Use your coffee cups and saucers for dessert. Ice cream topped with a layer of whipped cream and a dash of cocoa is a playful nod to cappuccino.

New, small votive holders are a clever way to serve shots of cold gazpacho, ceviche or spirits.

Use mirror tiles (available at building supply stores) as dinner plates or platters, or try a compact mirror for amuse-bouche or petit four.

Stemmed glassware is no longer just for drinks. Anything you would normally serve in a small bowl, such as salad, soup or dessert, looks more appetitzing and stylish in a martini glass.

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