Tips & Techniques Entertaining A Beautiful Buffet

A buffet should convey abundance. Choose a table or sideboard that will be just the right size to hold everything. Arrange empty platters and bowls on the table ahead of time so you can determine their placement. Then attach post-its indicating which foods will be served in each platter and bowl.

A simple centerpiece adds a decorative touch to the buffet. Flowers with a mild fragrance or sturdy fruit, like these pomegranates with a little greenery tucked in, are a good choice. You can also add small decorations or low, stable vases of flowers along the entire length of the table or sideboard.

Cover the surface of the buffet with a tablecloth, runner or place mats. Once you have determined how the traffic will flow, set plates at the beginning of the buffet and napkins and utensils at the end. That way guests won't have to juggle them while they fill their plates.

Placing food at different heights on the buffet table creates an attractive look and makes serving easier. It can also help you fit more food on a smaller table. Place food on a tiered serving platter, or use stackable cake stands. You can also use pedestals or footed bowls, or place platters on boxes or bowls set under the tablecloth or draped with napkins.

Just before serving, place simple votive candles in clear glass holders around the buffet. When selecting candles be sure to use only unscented candles in a color that will blend into the background and let the flame add a touch of sparkle.