I have always been in favor of preparing some appetizers when having guests over. In many cases, they can be prepared a little in advance, which allows you to be with the guests when they arrive, and I think that is a great way to start a lunch or dinner. If the group is large, I suggest you also serve a welcome cocktail or punch, it is ideal to break the ice!

I always keep several things in mind when preparing appetizers:

- I prefer a looser presentation of the appetizers and that each of the portions breathe, than seeing the portions in contact. This way you avoid touching the others when picking one up.

- Each diner must be able to taste each of the appetizers, so you know how many units of each appetizer you must have as a minimum. If I make more, I try to make them even portions, although that will vary from the appetizer you are preparing.

- Simple is a success: I recommend using quality ingredients or winning combinations, without major complications. A plate of ham will be a topic to talk about if it is top quality and well cut; or a mini-toast will leave guests surprised to see only a little cheese and walnut but tasting a delicious truffle flavor, thanks to that special oil that you have put in it.

- Do not overload: it is not necessary to put too much seasoning in each portion. The important thing is to taste it and enjoy it. If you overdo it, small pieces will easily fall on the plate that will not favor the presentation, or the guests will have difficulties to eat it in a dignified and elegant way. Don't put them through that!

- Remember not to serve oily portions or with sauce on wooden boards or unlimited plates, or it could spill on the tablecloth.

Commented these few basic guidelines, it is time to see how they can be presented. The nature of the appetizer will give a good indication to decide how to do it. I give you some ideas.

If you are thinking of presenting sausages, I think that a wooden board is always the most successful. You can play by presenting them on a round table or a rectangular or elongated one depending on the space or table you have. If you want to present cheeses, without a doubt, wood will be the best option if they have to be cut, but if you present them already cut, I would consider a marble stand , a rectangular tray or a pretty plate , in which to present them with triangular cuts.

bowls and cocottes for appetizers

Le Creuset mini round cocottes and Tokyo Design Fleur de Ligne range of plates, bowls and trays

The bowls will serve you both to serve an appetizer and to serve a sauce. They can help you turn the table into a burst of color or a most elegant appetizer... That's why I've always thought that having beautiful bowls that go with your style is important. For the same purpose, the ceramic mini-cocottes will serve you, which you can also present on the table covered and open immediately (especially in the case of hot appetizers, since they will help you retain heat), or leave them already presented with the lid semi-covered, which is coquettish and generates some intrigue in what is inside.

If what you want is to serve a sauce, jam or chutney , you can put the bowl in the middle of the table, tray or plate where you have those toasts, crackers or cheeses for which you plan to accompany them. Presenting everything on the same support, sauce and toast or the like, helps to make people understand what that sauce or chutney is intended to go with. And remember to include a teaspoon in the bowl to be able to serve yourself!

In case of making skewers, arrange them parallel and well organized on a tray or plate . To do it well or to be careless there is an abyss in the presentation result. Also in case of serving montaditos or canapés.

appetizer serving trays

Green Cosmos Trays by Tokyo Design , MasterClass Baguette Board and Slate Plates by Kitchen Craft

If you are looking for a different way of serving certain appetizers, slate stones can be very useful: some toasts well distributed there are original and well presented, and the contrast with the color of the stone makes them look even more.

Centerpieces are also original and practical ways of serving appetizers: everything is collected and well presented, without further complication. And porcelain spoons are a good resource when you want to surprise with a delicate and elegant appetizer.

appetizer spoons and centers

Tokyo Design Porcelain Spoon and Appetizer Center Masterclass

The first impression is important, and the details count -or so I think! For this reason, I have the feeling that starting the meal with tasty and well-presented appetizers help to relax the atmosphere and fix a good memory of that feast. I hope these ideas help the next guests at home have a thought when they see the table "What a meal awaits me!"

NOTE: We recently incorporated several ranges of porcelain plates, bowls and trays from Tokyo Design Studio that have me in love. I invite you to see them ( here ), they are ideal for aperitifs.

Claudia Ferrer

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