When it comes to holiday parties, people often think they have to reinvent
the wheel by doing something over-the-top or crazily festive. Forget it. Not
necessary. Sometimes we overcomplicate things so much, we can’t even enjoy
ourselves. This season, I plan to bring back the art of entertaining on trays.
It’s a throwback to a bygone era, but when done properly, a party passed
on trays can be incredibly modern and terribly elegant.
Of course, it all begins with finding the perfect tray, which needs to balance
style and function. My favorite tray
comes from the extraordinary Château de Bagnols in France.
It’s an actual copy of the silver trays created for the château in
the 18th century, but it looks every bit as refined today. Perfect—believe
it or not—for pigs in a blanket, one of my all-time favorite party snacks.
There’s something incredibly confident about putting something so shamelessly
ordinary on an object so extraordinary. Pair the little dogs with basil Dijon
mustard and you’ve got it.
For something more contemporary, I love the gold circular trays by Belgian
artist Michaël Verheyden. They’re quite heavy and
could possibly be decorative objects on their own, but they’re also just
right for the round gold-leaf petits fours by Cheryl Kleinman in Brooklyn, New
Then there’s the classic white lacquer tray: Jonathan Adler gives his version a modern twist with a great hexagonal shape, and the red napkins
here are actually disposable—I know!—but still chic.
Another one is the apple-green lacquer tray by Plantation Design, with its white edge—so sophisticated, it immediately makes me think of
these adorable Revol mini-cocottes, which I discovered while planning one of
the most luxurious evenings ever: a dinner party for 250 prepared by Thomas
Keller. The night consisted of all-miniature courses—lobster, vegetable
cassoulet—served in these tiny vessels. They’re perfect for when
you’ve planned something a little heartier than hors d’oeuvres but
don’t want a full-court sit-down dinner. Cheers!
Contributing editor David Monn is an event and party planner based in New
York but who travels everywhere. For more information, call 212-242-2009 or
Party Tray Details
From top to bottom:
Chateau de Bagnols silver tray and serving dish ($335 and
Dean & Deluca Wagyu pigs in a blanket (deananddeluca.com).
Edmond Fallot basil Dijon mustard (kalustyans.com).
Williams-Sonoma cocktail picks (williams-sonoma.com).