Ah, when Fall arrives my mind cranks into over-drive for fun and interesting party or event ideas. The crispness of the Fall air, big blankets and warm sweaters just put a smile on my face. I think of warm stews and hot drinks, but when it comes to a party, I tend to Fall into the same pattern. So, I was so pleasantly surprised when I can across the following images on weddingchicks.com. I love this idea as an event for the Fall when you just crave a good pie. What I love about events is that concepts, themes and ideas can cross through to any type of event or party and I think this is a fantastic idea for an afternoon party or weekend get together.
Who doesn’t like to give an opinion? And having a “tasting” party is a great way to involve and engage your guests. There are all sorts and variations of tasting parties, but a pie tasting one is unique. Also, by asking your guests to rate each offering and maybe give each a score, you are creating an atmosphere and vibe to your party which keeps the momentum going.
You can make some of your own pies if you have some great, family recipes, but don’t hesitate to go out there and buy some unusual and interesting pies to test. The more different and appealing the offering, the more fun your guests will have in their ratings.
Step One: Get Your Menu
You don’t have to go out there and test different pies. In fact, I would suggest that you make and buy pies that you maybe haven’t tasted. If you want it to be an engaging event, you should participate in the “tasting” as much as anyone else. To make it even more interesting, have both sweet and savory options. Have guests start with warm or savory pies and then finish the meal with some sweet ones.
Step Two: Make Labels
Really, just make sure that each different pie has it’s own label. Use placecards from your local craft store, or make your own with some sturdy, heavy cardstock. You can either print out the pie name using interesting font from the computer, or handwrite the names yourself on paper. Try using mis-matched frames to display the pie name or use clothes pins to hold them up . However you want to display the name of the pie, just make sure that it is visible and easily associated with the correct pie.
Step Three: Design Your Table
Well, this to me, is one of the fun parts. Once you have determined what pies you will have, think about how you would like to display them for your guests. Buffet style is the best and you can use a kitchen island if you have one, a dining room sideboard, or a table set up somewhere that works in your house or yard. Try to have varying heights to add interest and use the display as a way to tie in colours as well. Really have fun with putting your table together. Use your own china or think about biodegradable disposable items.
Must haves: plates, forks, knives, napkins, and plenty of pie servers to lift slices out. Do you want to pre-slice each pie so guests simply lift out their slice or will you (or someone designated) be slicing for each guest? Think about those things as you make a written plan ahead of time.
Step Four: Engage Your Guests
So much fun!! Have pencils and scorecards ready for each guest to rate the selections and what they liked. You participate too and then tally up the scores to see which pie was the favourite (or the least favourite).
Step Five: Have Refreshments
Of course, milk goes great with a sweet pie but you can extend the drinks to include lemonade or ice tea, a hearty beer or crisp wine. Use fun containers if you can to continue your theme or have a large bucket in a cool colour filled with ice and drinks. Anything goes really.
Step Six: Bag it Up
Hopefully (fingers crossed) you won’t have much left over, but if you do, make sure to have plenty of take-home containers ready for the leftovers. Whether you have plain paper bags or interesting boxes, use something that is consistent with your theme or feeling of the event. Interesting decorative bags and boxes are available everywhere and you can personalize with your own written message on top.
If you don’t want to send home the left-overs with your guests, have an individual or bite-sized portion of a pie already packaged for them to take with them as a fun take-away. Having little boxes, all lined up also adds another visual aspect to the whole event.
Some fun suggestions:
- Ask each guest to bring a pie for the tasting. They can make it themselves or bring one that they think is really good. Ask them the type and name of pie they will be bringing so that you can create a name card for it.
- Have each guest send you one of their favourite recipes for a cool pie. It can be easy or super advanced…whatever they want to submit. Copy each recipe and put in fun bags. Each guest can select one to take home with them and try themselves.
- Have some pies as a blind taste test. Have each guest try a bite and record what type of pie they think it is. The guest that determines the most pies correctly will win a fabulous gift to take home (maybe not a pie though!)
If you are adventurous and would like to try a new recipe yourself, try this neat Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Pie, or this Tomato Pie. Have fun and enjoy.
photo credit: weddingchicks.com