Sweeten up the guests at your next gathering.

This year seems to have gone so fast, which is slightly alarming. All of a sudden Christmas parties are on the horizon.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy about it but sometimes life seems to whoosh right by. Already the social diary is starting to fill up.

I love this time of year because, despite the self-enforced pressure of needing to get everything done by the end of the year (why do we do that?) we still set aside quality time to catch up with the most important people in our lives - family, friends and work colleagues.

Meeting at a cool location can be good fun but taking time to create a welcoming, festive environment at home somehow makes a gathering feel all the more special.


Putting time and thought into what you will serve your guests is of utmost importance to any event. They need to be able to eat easily while juggling a glass and a small plate or napkin, so finger food is the perfect answer.

Today I have created sweet finger foods which can either be served after savoury options or, for a unique take, why not create a soiree solely focused on sweet offerings paired with a variety of champagnes? Set the scene with candles, music and elegant glassware and then invite people to arrive in time to watch the sun set.

When it comes to creating your party menu be sure to offer a choice of flavours and textures to keep it all interesting.

Today I've selected chocolate, fresh fruit, delicate pastry and berries. Serve all the dishes in bite-sized portions and arrange them prettily on the most beautiful platters you can find.

Chef's tip

Serve the fresh berry cups in small cut crystal glasses or use martini glasses. Place a silver teaspoon on the side. Use whichever combination of fresh berries you prefer and if you don't want to use Pimms, elderflower cordial is also delicious.

For more of Amanda Laird's fabulous recipes, visit foodhub.co.nz