The à la Carte Kitchen team is devoted to making your party a successful event. Planning and hosting a party can be a delicious experience. After all, it's a celebration. It means that even you should have a great time before, during and after the event.

How we design the reception will determine the mood of the party. To create an elegant atmosphere, inspire conversations by offering unique hors d'oeuvres that will seduce their taste buds. Consider a tasting of petit aubergine filled with risotto provincial or the sensational montage of lobster and sweet potato.

Everyone loves to be served. Where possible, have hors d'oeuvres passed to each guest, treating them to a variety of taste experiences. Be sure to expand your selection to accommodate different tastes and diets. Be creative with the food offered at the reception. Avoid hors d'oeuvres. that are overly messy or fragile, and remembers, they should only be one or two bites.
 
Finishing touches. An enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere will create a comfortable environment for your guests. Make sure your table not only looks spectacular but is also a reflection of the atmosphere and food you're offering. Avoid crowding the table causing your guests to bump elbows, or choosing a centrepiece that obstructs your guests' view of each other. During the meal, give your guests time between each course to catch their breath, converse and take a sip of wine. Allow 30 minutes per course.
 
Complete table presentation; the theme of your party should be echoed in the table setting. Bring a fresh breeze to your springtime garden theme by lining the table with greens and handpicked flowers. If you long for the cool sparkle of sophistication try, an all-glass theme complete with a mirrored tabletop and plates, candelabras, vases all made of glass (fill the vase with clear marbles,) and damask napkins draped over each place setting.

Style. A few days before the party, go over all the flatware, cutlery and glassware required. If you don't have a matching set for all your guests, alternate a different set between each guest. You can be bold by mixing modern with antique styles. If an au courant statement of style is desired, ask your event planner for the different rental styles available.

First impressions begins from the moment your guest arrive. Don't delay in offering them a cocktail to sip. A Mojito cocktail works for that hot and jazzy summer evening. A spicy Caesar is the perfect compliment to a summer barbeque. The Martini is for that uptown affair. Just remember, your choice of drink should not only capture the mood of the party, but it should also hint at overall theme. And don't make those that don't drink alcohol feel left out. Provide a fun non-alcoholic cocktail like a smoothie or a virgin daiquiri.

Pairing food and wine is an important aspect of dinner party planning. Work with your chef or planner to ensure that appropriate wines are selected for the menu chosen. Remember that your guests' palate acclimates, so start with softer wines and build as the dinner progresses Save the most distinguished wines for the climax of dinner - usually the main course. The proper stemware enhances your wine choices while adding sparkle to a well-set table.

From the beginning to the end - As your party draws to a finish, add a fashionable flourish by offering a tantalizing dessert with well-chilled ice wine. A good cup of coffee decaffeinated or not, goes well with bonbons plate filled Chef Simon truffles. At a more traditional affair, a splash of cognac is the perfect finale, while a tawny port can make a distinct last impression.

Having fun at your own party means being well prepared. Most of us live with budgetary limitations, but try not to scrimp to the point where you loose the enjoyment of the event. That extra server or extra hour of planning time can mean the difference between the host working the party or enjoying it. When you plan and execute a party with style, you not only create exceptional memories, but you celebrate life - in all its many flavours
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