How I Hosted A Tasting Party

Tasting Party Table Setting

I finally tried hosting a tasting party and it was a huge success – I’ll tell you how I did it.

I am constantly looking for ways to have a party.  I love getting together with my friends and creating an experience for everyone.  I’m already known for my Christmas Cookie Exchange, and last year I hosted my first Tasting Party and it went very well – why wouldn’t it?  Who doesn’t like friends and food in combination?

Well, here’s what I did and maybe it will inspire you to put together something even better for your friends and family!

Tasting Party SuppliesI started with boatloads of small dishes, bowls, glass containers, and servers. I shopped for months looking for the best deals and most interesting shaped pieces.  I only purchased white or clear glass because I figured that way I can change the theme and colors of my tasting party decor as the years go by.

Tasting Party Shell ThemeThis year’s theme was all about sea shells and coral, of which I have quite a bit since I am a Florida resident!  I tried to use things I had on hand so I didn’t have to go to any extra expense just to add the decoration.  This worked out nicely with all the white and clear glass tasting ware.

Tasting Party NapkinsI did try to dress things up a bit by creating some interest with my white cloth napkins. To do this simply fold the napkin in half and then in fourths. With the four loose tips towards you, fold the first tip over to touch the opposite corner point.  Fold the second tip of it but about an inch lower, do the same with the third and fourth tip.  Fold the napkin back in thirds and insert into the glass. When you fold the front tip down over the glass it helps to hold it in place.

Tasting Party OrganizationWith the table set and decorated, I moved to the kitchen to get organized.  I had already asked each guest what they were bringing, making sure we had several appetizers, main dishes, a couple sides and desserts. Now I set up the kitchen so when each guest arrived they could divide up their dishes into bite sized “tastes”!

Tasting Party AppetizerThe meal was incredible from the marvelous time intensive appetizers to the snow white coconut cake dessert!

Tasting Party Coconut CakeWe also had tasty meatballs for an appetizer and an old family recipe clam chowder. There was a pasta dish and two dishes that were gluten free; cheesy corn pudding and cherry crisp!

Tasting Party TaboulehMy favorites were a mouth watering tabouleh from home grown vegetables and herbs…

Tasting Party Oreo Ballsand Oreo balls for dessert! If you are a chocoholic…you would love these easy to make treats.

Tasting Party RecipesAnd, what Tasting Party would be complete without the recipes for all the wonderful treats?  I made sure to get the recipes from my guests about a week before the even so I had time to transfer them to word documents and dress them up with photos and borders and colored writing…yes, I have no life!

Tasting Party GuestsIn the end I do believe a good time was had by all.  Yes, the food was fun to try and the recipes will be useful in the future, but it was all about getting together with friends and building relationships.  You should try it; I guarantee you’ll like it!



  1. says

    Great idea, but I think I have enough in the way of dishes. I actually think a variety of colors and patterns would make it more interesting and really, I don’t think it matters if everything is matchy, matchy.

  2. Tracy Lunos says

    I think this would make a great get to gather during the dead of winter, here in Minnesota! Like a ‘Cabin Fever’ Party…and I like things to match, lol.

  3. Barb says

    Hi Shari,

    Would it be possible to share the Oreo Balls recipe? I have a daughter who is a vegan and a grandson with a severe dairy allergy. I am sure they would both love those!

    Thank you!

      • Shari Hiller says

        Barb, in case you haven’t noticed, the Oreo balls are on the site in the Food/Dessert section. Enjoy!

        • Barb says

          Hi Shari,

          Yes, I did notice and thank you! We will enjoy those.
          I’ve been a fan of you and Matt for more years than I can remember, and still miss Room by Room. I am in Minneapolis and we don’t get your new show, but I have the DVDs. I really enjoy your website and e-mails! Keep up the great work!

  4. Trish says

    Love the recipe booklet idea, a nice keepsake to savour and remember each attendee by. As for the table decor…each to her own. Thank you Shari for this great idea to get people together and enjoy each other.

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