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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Fall Dinner Party Ideas

Posted: October 26, 2006
by: Robert Jackson

It’s that time of the year again! The weather is starting to cool, the leaves are falling and the days grow ever shorter. And suddenly once again, we are more inclined to the idea of having fiends over for dinner. This is the perfect season for fall dinner parties!Leaves_with_shadows_1

So here I want to share with you my tips and suggestions that will help to take the stress out of entertaining, and leave you free to enjoy the occasion. After all, isn’t that what dinner parties are all about?

Planning a fall dinner party menu is as simple as A - B - C!


Balance, and

Cooking methods


First and foremost, I always try to work some seasonal produce into my dinner party menu. Even just a hint of the season is better than none - perhaps a fresh asparagus first course, or beautiful, sweet summer fruits in the dessert. But whatever you do, don't fight the seasons - a rich Game Casserole in the heat of summer, or a Spring Vegetable Consommé in the dead of winter will not impress your guests!

Try to use fresh, natural produce wherever possible. You just can't compare the flavor of a freshly roasted free-range chicken with that of a frozen or pre-packed bird off the supermarket shelf! And experiment with organic foods, especially organic vegetables which are so much more flavorsome.

Where a recipe calls for a specialty gourmet food ingredient that isn't available in your area, try shopping online. There are many excellent online gourmet food stores who will deliver right to your door. Buying just one or two small luxury items from gourmet specialty stores will add a real touch of elegance to your dinner party menu.

But whatever you choose to cook, don't get stressed if you can't locate the exact ingredients or produce. Instead, simply choose another dish!


Think CONTRAST.........

Try to combine different colors, textures and flavors. Smooth followed by chunky, sweet complemented by sour, fish followed by meat........

Choose lighter dishes at the beginning of the menu, saving the heavier and more substantial for main course. A rich dessert to finish off the dinner party is fine as long as you serve only a SMALL portion.......!

Don't serve a strongly flavored first course followed by a lightly flavored main course. If you do, the delicate flavors of the main dish will be totally lost.....

Don't over use any single ingredient. Cheese for example is perfect in any course, but over-kill if it turns up in every course......!


Choose a dinner party menu that allows you to incorporate a number of different cooking methods, for example.....


Try to avoid main course recipes that call for last minute complex, or time consuming preparations. The trick is to have as much of the menu pre-prepared as possible, with only the finishing to do at the last minute. This puts less pressure on your time when you want to be with your guests.

Special Preferences and Diets

I always try to check with my guests before the party to find out if any of them have any specific dietary requirements that must be included in the dinner party menu. Finding out on the night for example that someone is Vegetarian, is not allowed to eat pork, or can't abide fish will only cause you unnecessary stress!

Simplicity Rules - ok?

Restrict the menu to a minimum of two and a maximum of four courses.

Don't attempt any dish that you are not confident with.

Don't try to incorporate too many different flavors in any one dish. Let the simple, fresh, uncluttered flavors shine through.

Try to keep a single theme throughout the menu, for example Eastern, European or Classic American cuisine.

Don't be tempted into extravagance or excess PURELY to impress. Use expensive, specialty foods sparingly. These days, "less is more"!   

Don't get carried away with over the top, extravagant garnishes and decorations. Let the quality and presentation of the food speak for itself.

Practical Limitations

Consider your kitchen space and equipment. Have you got enough cooking pans, and of the right size?

Do you have enough china, serving dishes/platters, cutlery and glassware without having to wash up between courses?

Is your dining table big enough for the number of guests? Take account of the extra space needed for placing serving bowls and platters on the table.

Consider your time availability and flexibility. If you try to be over ambitious then at the very least you will tire yourself out, get yourself stressed and you won't enjoy the dinner party.....or at the very worst, it will all end in disaster!

Cheat a Little!

If time is tight be prepared to compromise.

Buy in some prepared food for delivery to your door. There are so many excellent quality products which you can simply and quickly buy online…..…Gourmet Station for example offers an excellent range of a la carte appetizers, main courses and desserts Buy in just one course, or two, and leave yourself more time to concentrate on the other dishes.

Or if the budget will allow it, consider hiring a Personal Chef for the evening. You can even have one of these Chefs come into your kitchen before the dinner party, prepare several dishes and chill them. The dinner party menu then only needs you to do the reheating and then to serve it with a little touch of style and flair.

No-one ever needs to know your little secret!

Robert Jackson
Gourmet Food Revolution

Your Comments

cool party ideas...thanks for the tips for future parties!

Posted by: seasonal party theme at Mar 20, 2008 3:32:47 PM