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Take Your Party to a New Level with Risers

Group party food on risers or other stackable elements to add flair and save space

Placing food at varying levels is a well-used trick in the catering business. Now, more products are being made available for home entertaining that take food presentation to a new level.

One favorite is the bamboo trivet-style riser. It's available in a number of sizes, is food and heat safe, and the legs fold for storage. They allow for a flexible arrangement that is also very refined.

Think stairsteps when creating the food arrangement. These can be set up using any number of objects. For a country casual plateau crates could be used. Add buckets, placed upside down and span them with an interesting piece of wood. For a garden party, new clay pots could serve the same purpose.

Another idea that is reminiscent of French Country style is to find an old table or even several in smaller sizes. Garage sales are an excellent place to shop. Remove the legs and add felt or foam to protect from scratching. Sand it, paint it, varnish it, and you have the perfect - and quaint - plateau or riser setup. If you wish, add your own hand-painted touch with appropriate craft paints before the final glaze. You can find a varnish called Salad Bowl Finish at most big-box or hobby stores. It is a food-safe, nontoxic product that will protect the finish.

Place foods that require cutting, such as cheese, on the lowest level. Leave plenty of room to maneuver for slicing from left or right angles. (Keep your left-handed guests in mind, when arranging all foods.)

Lighter fare should go on the highest levels: Crackers and other finger foods that may merely require lifting. Silverware can go on middle tiers as their heads can be recessed a bit without losing visibility.

To add greater height, add a taller container filled with ice and place bowls of piled strawberries inside.

Always test for stability. Practice with weighted objects on all the risers to be sure nothing will topple when your guests are grazing. Pretend you're filling a plate with the setting in place.

With these basic ideas for a plateau presentation, you can dream up all types of decorative additions that will certainly be pleasing to the eye and accessible for your guests.

 


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