Chocolate platters have replaced cheese platters at parties

Chocolate pairing replaces cheese platters at parties

(BPT) – Whether a five-course social event, laid-back barbecue or progressive dinner party, what separates average from impressive entertaining is innovative and original ideas. One way to catch the attention of your guests while tempting their taste buds is to feature chocolate pairings in your entertaining itinerary.

Fine chocolates add decadence to any event, but they are relatable and broadly enjoyed. Chocolate platters have replaced cheese platters at soirees, but what’s really on trend is chocolate pairings. This interactive offering is a conversation starter that will delight guests – the perfect way to conclude a meal with friends or family.

These tips from Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates will help you pair fine chocolates with beer, wine and spirits so you can impress guests at your next event.

Offer an array of flavors

To ensure you have something for all guests no matter their preferences, opt for a variety of chocolates. White, milk and dark chocolate selections offer an array of flavors. Some guests may gravitate to one over others, while other guests may choose to sample all three. Suggest sampling from light to dark to balance the palate.

Pairing 1 suggestion: White chocolate

White chocolate is sweet and buttery, integrated into numerous types of confections, many of which feature fruit.

Consider serving with a stout beer that will bring out that buttery goodness. If selecting a wine pairing, opt for a zinfandel or another variety that won’t overpower those delicate flavors. Spirits can be a nice pairing addition, too, like a classic bourbon.

Pairing 2 suggestion: Milk chocolate

Americans adore milk chocolate and expert chocolatiers can transform this delight into virtually endless tempting flavors. The Kohler Butterscotch Hop is one such example. The smooth, creamy butterscotch filling is enhanced by a custom blend of premium chocolate to elevate this flavor combination.

Milk chocolate is smooth and sweet, and drink pairings should complement that element without overwhelming. A light crisp beer or a refreshing chardonnay brings out the buttery undertones of silky-smooth milk chocolate. If you decide to serve butterscotch, it’s sure to be unique as it’s a pretty rare find in the chocolate world. A honey whiskey is the perfect pair for butterscotch chocolates.

Pairing 3 suggestion: Dark chocolate

Rich and undeniably decadent, dark chocolate is the ideal final pairing to offer guests. The flavors of coffee and dark chocolate are often fused together as they mingle together well.

A bold, rich beer or heavy ale matches dark chocolate well. A tawny port that isn’t too fruity can be a nice complement to coffee flavors while bringing out the dark chocolate elements. Finally, a sweeter bourbon with a smoky finish pairs nicely with the dark chocolate, which in turn brings out the barrel notes of the spirit.

Serving

You can serve chocolate pairings in a variety of ways. If you prefer to set up a beautiful buffet, you can display chocolates on a platter and place drink pairings nearby, each labeled appropriately. Guests can help themselves at their leisure. You may also opt to serve guests by bringing out each pairing one by one and offering guests their choice of beverage to pair with the featured chocolate. No matter how you choose to serve, it’s bound to be a memorable event.

5 ways to serve up Hollywood magic at your awards night party

Red carpet entrance

(BPT) – What makes a great party on a big awards night so much fun? It probably has something to do with why we still go to packed movie theaters: We love a shared experience.

This year, make your red carpet viewing experience one to remember for you and your friends, and host a bash that celebrates our decades-long fascination with movie magic, celebrities and Hollywood mystique. To make it special, try some of these tips when planning your awards night viewing party.

Set a dress code: Let your friends know they’re in for a special night, and make it a dress-up affair. Or for something both glam and comfy, invite everyone to come in their fanciest lounge wear. (Think slippers, smoking jackets, dressing gowns and satin pajamas.)

Kick it off with red carpet glam: Build a red-carpet photo booth in your entryway, complete with red fabric, gold stars and topiaries and urge your guests to work it for the camera. To make it more fun, have photo-ready props handy, like oversized sunglasses, wigs and feather boas, and they’ll do the rest!

Make it interesting: During the big event, bring the spirit of competition into your living room and hand out ballots, asking your guests to predict who’s taking home the gold statue. To enjoy the unpredictable fun of live TV, make up some bingo cards. Up the stakes and prepare a few swag bags for the winners. Some ideas: DVDs with winning movie titles of yore, movie theater passes, gourmet popcorn and locally made candies.

Get bubbly: Champagne is always in style with the rich and famous. Popping open some chilled bottles of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut will make your guests feel like A-listers, because this year, special edition bottles from the famed champagne maker will be also poured at the ceremony and after-party. To learn more, visit piper-heidsieck.com.

Serve delicious, sophisticated bites: Serving up platters of tasty hors d’oeuvres is always a simple but classy way to feed your stylish guests because it lets everyone eat, mingle and watch the show. This year, let your menu be inspired by Wolfgang Puck, the creator of the luxurious, over-the-top feast served at the awards show after-party. Try his recipe for Gougères with gruyere, and your guests will give you a standing ovation. (Find the recipe below.)

Gougères

Makes about 75 bite-sized puffs

Gougères are savory puffs flavored with cheese and served hot from the oven as a quick hors d’oeuvres.

Gougères batter:

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 1/2 ounces bread flour

2 extra-large eggs

3 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Gougères toppings:

1 extra-large egg

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Fleur de sel

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Set rack in the center of oven.

Insert paddle attachment in a stand mixer. In a heavy metal saucepot, combine the water, butter, cayenne and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat, add all the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined to form a smooth paste. Return the pot to medium heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.

Put the paste in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix at medium speed for 1 minute. Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed until each is fully incorporated and stopping to scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the 3 1/2 ounces of grated Gruyere and mix until incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip and pipe nickel-size mounds onto a non-stick baking sheet, or a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, 2 inches apart.

In a small bowl beat together the egg and egg yolk forming an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush each of the Gougères with the egg wash. Sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese and a pinch of fleur de sel.

Bake the gougères on the center rack in the preheated oven until they are puffed and golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Source: Wolfgang Puck.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Party

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St. Patrick’s Day Party

St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning that perfect party.  This year St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday.  Put your “green” on and have a great time.  Here is what you will need:

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5 Great Appetizers for Every Occasion

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

little-smokies, appetizers, party, birthday, events, get together. eventandpartyideas.com

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

 

 1    pkg. “Lil Smokies” smoked sausages

Bacon-uncooked-cut to wrap around sausages

Toothpicks

Brown Sugar

Wrap each smokie in piece of bacon strip-toothpick to hold it.

Place on cookie sheet (lined with foil or clean up is no fun)

Sprinkle generously with brown sugar.

Bake at 375-400° until brown

This is always a big hit!

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