When you entertain the duke and duchess, the ambassador and his wife, who expect all of the finer things properly prepared and served, money poses no object. You instruct your chef to secure the finest fresh ingredients at the market prices, and you focus your attention on the quality of their preparation and presentation. Acknowledging that 90% of a dish’s appeal-its flavor and fragrance-originate in its aesthetic appeal, you especially will focus your chef’s best efforts on presentation. You will demand his finest knife work, and you will expect demonstrations of his skill with the pastry bag and all the sophisticated tools of his art. Most importantly, because the foods are rich and filling yet you wish to serve an ample array of delicacies, you will instruct your chef to exercise great discretion in portion sizes. Some of the most delectable dishes on your menu require barely more than a taste to satisfy the guests’ desire for variety.
When you entertain visiting royalty of all descriptions, you must serve the ultimate in luxury food. Your menu inevitably must include…
Exotic appetizers-Luxury food quickens your guests’ appetites. You may choose caviar; Russian Beluga caviar is generally considered the best. Except that Russian caviar comes with a caveat: because it comes from whales, Nature-loving guests may object to the fact that your menu has required mistreatment of animals. You may substitute a fine goose liver pate. The more exotic the goose, the finer the pate; but you can spoil a wonderful goose liver if you fail to pay attention to texture and temperature in the preparation and service, And, please, by all means, serve your pate on fine toast points because crackers just will not do.
“Big” entrees- Luxury food satisfies your guests’ hunger. Although lamb and veal provide tender and flavorful alternatives to your usual heavy fare, they, too, conjure images of young animals treated inhumanely. They may offend your guests’ delicate sensibilities. Try a mixed grill of gamier meats: Bison ranchers now offer exquisitely aged steaks and roasts, and venison blends well with rich fruity sauces. A wild goose complements the red meats nicely, or nicely stuffed pheasants may prove palette pleasing.
Exquisite side dishes- Luxury food engages your guests’ palettes. Asparagus tips in a buttery sauce always go well with hearty entrees, but if they seem far too conventional for your table, consider this season’s taste sensations-ice creams and sorbets. The world’s premier chefs have perfected their techniques for presenting every imaginable flavor in ice cream or sorbet form. Choose any combination of fresh garden vegetables served en sorbet, or ask the chef to prepare a delicate melange of fresh fruits and vegetables in cool, refreshing ice cream.
Salacious desserts– Luxury food satisfies your guests’ cravings for sweets. Because of their textures, flavors, and extravagant presentations, several old favorites are enjoying a reprise. Thrill your guests with flaming cherries jubilee or a spectacular baked Alaska. And do not forget carefully chosen sherries and ports to accompany your after-dinner cigars.