To Do This Weekend: Host a Walking Dinner

Get ready to think small.  You will see the words “small,” “little,” and “mini” many times in this post as we learn the art of the Walking Dinner.

It’s fun to host a gathering where hearty small bites are served, but without the pomp and circumstance of a sit down dinner (plus, you don’t have to set the table!)  This concept is old hat to caterers, but anyone can do it with a little creativity and research.  Logistics need to be considered, as the goal of a Walking Dinner is for guests to graze on tastes that they can enjoy while standing up and chatting.

As per usual, the Europeans thought of it first: the concept of a Walking Dinner has long been commonplace for Euros, especially in Belgium and Netherlands.  The key to creating “little” dishes is to think of your favorite foods, and figure out how to creatively serve them in a small portion.  You can even present your mini-dishes in successive courses – set out a salad and soup course first, then proceed from there.  The finale, of course, would be a sweet treat at the end of the evening.

With salads, you have almost an unlimited range. Serve your favorite salad in a lowball cocktail, glass or on a small appetizer plate with a small fork.

Soup can be served in a cocktail glass or a small mug. Any pureed soup would do, but a chilled soup works best as you don’t need to worry about keeping it warm.  Try gazpacho in shot glasses, garnished with a small shrimp on the side of the glass. 

Think of any main course and figure out if you can minify it and either serve it on a tray or individual plates. Keep in mind that your guests should be able to easily eat it while standing.  Think mini beef Wellington, sliders, and even pasta served on a spoon or in a glass. Vegetarian lasagne bites, tiny cups of chili with a cheese and tortilla chip garnish, a chicken wing in a shot glass with a dollop of blue cheese dressing in the bottom.  Here’s some visual inspiration of other ideas.

Dessert should be a piece of cake (see what I did there?)  Just make smaller portions, so it is better to handle.  Even bakery-purchased brownies or cakes can be cut into triangle shapes and served as little bites, or an assembled fruit skewer can be a lighter options.  And cupcakes are NEVER a bad idea!

images via pinterest, doedenbosch, wordpress