Formal Dinner Menu Ideas

by S. Herlihy

A formal dinner is ideal for a specific occasion such as a wedding anniversary or a baby shower. During a formal dinner, diners often come dressed up in their finest clothing. Many will expect to eat a well-prepared meal. Creating a menu for a formal dinner can be a daunting prospect. Fortunately, with a bit of advanced preparation this task can be made much easier. If you’ve never held a formal dinner before here are some ideas that can help you design the perfect meal.

Seafood

A menu composed of seafood items can be perfect for a soignée dinner party. Serve your guests an appetizer of shrimp bisque or a selection of oysters from around the country. Bring out grilled lobster with drawn butter or dressed soft shell crab for a main course option. Dessert can allude to the sea with clean flavors such as lemon used in a tart or chocolate or caramel flavored with sea salt.

French Flair

The cuisine of France has long been associated with elegance and sophistication. As Julia Child proved, Americans can recreate the best of French foodstuffs right at home. Start off a French style meal with a slice of homemade pate or a cup of vichyssoise. Offer a classic French-inspired main course such as steak au poivre (steak with peppercorns), Coquille St. Jacques (baked scallops with white sauce) or a serving of salmon mousse with capers. Finish the meal with a chocolate soufflé or a slice of tarte tatin (apple tart) topped with ice cream.

Luxury Items

Treat your guests to a formal menu filled with luxury ingredients. Freshly prepared items are ideal for a formal dining menu. Begin your meal with a serving of caviar on toast points with chopped hard boiled eggs or a salad of baby lettuce topped with a fragrant dressing. Main courses can be equally luxurious. Incorporate Kobe beef, grilled lamb with butter or pasta topped with costly white truffles. A luxury dessert choice might utilize out of season fruit such as strawberries or rare nuts such as macadamias. Top chocolates with strawberry sauce or turn the nuts into a pie.

Buffet

Create a buffet for your guests to enjoy. A buffet can allow people to try many different kinds of foods. A formal buffet can showcase fresh ingredients. Consider hiring a sushi chef to make specially handcrafted sushi rolls or someone to carve fresh slices of prime rib. Warm up items in chafing jars. Provide guests with a wide variety of hot and cold items as well as silverware and plates. A typical buffet menu might start with a salad and a soup. Then considering offering a pasta selection, a hot meat such ham or sliced turkey with gravy and a selection of side dishes such as mashed potatoes or steamed asparagus. Conclude the meal by providing cake, pie and fresh fruit to choose from.

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