The Gluten-Free Cocktail Party
Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2013
A cocktail party is the perfect holiday event – it's short, doesn't require place settings and gives an excuse to indulge in a variety of tastes and flavors beyond the dinner plate. It epitomizes what seasonal entertaining should be – easy, tasty and, most importantly, fun. But for those of us who don't have to deal with gluten intolerances in our households on an everyday basis, hosting a party can be worrying when you're entertaining guests who have issues with gluten.
Fresh fruit and veggie crudités are great, but many recipes run afoul of the gluten-free rules. Not so with these options! Our Great Gluten-Free Crab Cakes were a huge hit in the test kitchen, for those of us with and without gluten issues. With our delicious recipes and a few key tips, you're well on your way to hosting the holiday event of the season.
Black Bean Cakes with Lime Sour Cream (picture below)
Baked Coconut Fish Bites with Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce
Party Dos and Don'ts
DO: If a cocktail party takes the place of a meal, plan on 8-12 pieces per person, depending on how long the party is and how satiating your menu items are.
DON'T: Forget to serve at least one sweet item. If not an actual "dessert," dried fruits with cheese and an assortment of chocolates or candy are great options. Mini desserts and assortments are also popular, as are portable treats your guests can take home as favors.
DON'T: Skimp on cheese. This is the place to splurge! If you are serving a cheese board or cheese course, buy the best quality you can afford. Quality over quantity! Ask a Cheese Specialist for guidance in selecting accompaniments/condiments and crackers, too.
DO: Serve a signature cocktail! It's easier than stocking a full bar and adds a special, custom touch to the party.
DO: Serve both hot and cold foods. It's more interesting to eat and also easier to manage.
DO: Have at least a few things set out so that guests (especially early birds) can help themselves, even if you are passing food on trays.
DO: Try a recipe or two that you've never tried before. Unlike a dinner party, it's okay to experiment due to the number of options on the menu.
DO: Ask your guests about their sensitivities. Some people are very sensitive to gluten; others have more wiggle room. Though certain foods and ingredients may not contain gluten, they may not be labeled gluten free (these products may be cross contaminated if they are made in a facility that isn't gluten free). Such selections may not be suitable for guests with strict allergies.
Important Note: When preparing foods for a guest with gluten issues, watch out for cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards, utensils and dishes when you’re preparing both foods that contain gluten and those that don’t.
Selection and availability of products and ingredients vary by market.