Designer Picks: Tasting Sets

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Nov 15, 2011 | Linda Merrill

Tracy Hunter/Flickr Creative CommonsFrom tapas to sushi, little bites of exciting food are in style. One of the hottest trends in entertaining at home is tasting parties. No longer restricted to the expertise of fancy caterers, the DIY set is having a go at serving tiny portions of aesthetically pleasing gourmet treats. For instance, my twenty-five-year-old niece has become quite a cook and spends countless hours trying out new and inventive ways of preparing delicious and nutritious vegetarian and vegan dishes. She entertains regularly and offers up a dizzying array of dishes, both savory and sweet.

When she recently moved into a new apartment, I went shopping for a housewarming gift and couldn’t think of a more appropriate one than a mini tasting set. I bought a variety pack from Pier 1 from their Tasting Party® Collection. It featured small dishes, bowls and even little tasting spoons.  I will say that the spoons were a bit small to offer up a real taste, but it was otherwise a cute and fun way for her to offer up "just a taste" of a new dish to her friends.

There are so many stylish tasting sets currently on the market. Any of the following could bump up the style factor at your next party.   

Just Desserts Mini Bowl Set by Libbey

The "Just Desserts" twenty-five-piece mini bowl set from Libbey is a great way to offer small tastes of different desserts to your guests. Desserts should be beautiful as well as tasty; these clear glass bowls will allow the cook's artistic creativity to shine as well.

Just Tasting Round Bowl Set by Libbey

Libbey also offers the “Just Tasting” mini round bowl set that is microwave and oven safe up to 400 degrees. This would make a great choice for small soufflés, soups or a bite of roasted meat with garnish.

2.25" Square Wave Dish by Grand Settings

Hold a tasting picnic in a park or by the pool! Grand Settings Party Goods offers a 2.25” square plastic tasting dish in packs of ten for about 25 cents a piece. Small bites of salad or portion controlled desserts would work well with this set.

Mini Glass Bowls by Williams-Sonoma

For just a little more money, Williams-Sonoma has a set of twelve square glass tasting bowls for a little over a dollar each. Reusable and dishwasher safe, regular party hosts would find this a useful set to have on hand for many occasions.

Libbey Just Tasting 3-Piece Appetizer Set

Make a casual get together more special by offering each guest their own three piece tasting set which features two bowls and a small platter.

World Market Mini Tasting Tureens

World Market’s Mini-Tasting Tureens have an elegant old world appeal that will dress up any table year round. This reasonably priced set of six is the perfect way to offer a taste of stew or casserole, even desserts.

World Market Mini Tasting Mugs with Platter

Also from World Market is a complementary tasting mug set for taste-testing specialty coffees, teas or even drinkable bisques. Old world style meats modern demands for choice with these sets.

Remember: Fun tableware can make even a weekday dinner in your own kitchen more festive. Have fun!

Linda Merrill is a Networx - - writer. Get home & garden ideas like this - - on

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