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I hosted a couple of Holiday cocktail parties this year, and took note of the appetizers that sold and the ones that didn’t. I live in the south, and although most if not all of my guests also do, we are a mixed bag from all over the US and even abroad. Here is what my typical appetizer selection consisted of:
- Cheese board with fruit, salumi and gourmet crackers
- Shrimp with cocktail sauce and sliced lemon garnish
- Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and garnished with balsamic
- Deviled eggs
- Roast beef with horseradish and baguettes
- Christmas cookies
- Artichoke and feta dip with crostini
- Spinach balls
Some of these recipes may be found on my blog, just click on the link to access the recipes. The best sellers across the board were:
- Shrimp – no surprise there! If you’re doing heavy appetizers, plan on three shrimp per person. If your appetizer list is light, plan on as much as six shrimp per person.
- Deviled eggs – this one surprised me, as I’m not a big deviled egg person. People LIKE deviled eggs! Plan on one to two (halves) per person.
- Roast beef – again, no surprise! For smaller parties, I go with roast Tenderloin. For my larger party, I went with a top sirloin roast. Both turned out well and were cooked in a similar manner. The top sirloin was trimmed but I trimmed it a bit more, and there is a bit of gristle to get rid of when slicing. It is difficult to slice thinly but it still was delicious. The price difference is amazing. The Choice grade tenderloin was a great find at $13.69 per lb at my HEB grocery store. At the same store, I bought the top sirloin for $5.99 per lb. Whoa! Plan on 4-6 oz of beef per person. The tenderloin will be a sell-out, so splurge and go with 6 oz per person if possible.
- Christmas cookies were a hit. The best seller was the vanilla crescents. I broke down and just turned the crescents into rounds for my final party and they were still a big hit. Shape makes no difference! Plan on two to three cookies per person. For fun, at one party I made “lumps of coal,” essentially rice krispies treats with oreo cookies and black food coloring. They were a great conversation starter and tasted great too! Lots of recipes available for this on the web.
Middle of the pack:
The cheese board is a staple at any cocktail party, and most people really like good cheese, especially with a glass of wine. The salumi that was included on the board was gobbled up. I personally love including a jelly or a quince paste on my cheese boards, but mostly I’m the one that enjoys it the most . I included olives once and they also disappeared.
The artichoke and feta dip was a pretty good seller. I will consider this recipe a keeper, it was my first time making it. I could eat it all day long 🙂
Not a big seller:
Although I personally love asparagus, and love prosciutto, this appetizer didn’t really sell ever. I added cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls on a frill pick with balsamic glaze, and they were pretty good but also did not disappear.
The spinach balls didn’t sell either. Oh well, only I want to be Popeye.
I’ve always loved cooking, and spent many years working on the food & beverage side of the hospitality industry, which served to increase my interest in food, wine and entertaining.