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Planning A New Year’s Eve Food

2010 November 27
by buddy

Around the world, there are many New Year’s Eve food items that are believed to bring good luck in the new year. In Italy, risotto rice, store-bought pasta, nuts, dates, honey, figs, dates, round cakes, gnocchi, dried salt cod and chiacchiere are foods that symbolize good fortune. The Japanese eat noodles, fish and beans, while the Chinese eat sweet oranges, spring rolls, fish and sticky rice cakes. The Spaniards eat 12 grapes at midnight (one for each stroke of the clock) and drink champagne. The Dutch believe that round donuts bring us full circle for good luck and the Greeks believe the same thing about coins cooked into round cakes. In Denmark, leafy greens promise lots of money and Austria is all about pork and Marzipan. Carp is a German good luck tradition, eaten along with a split pea soup, sausage or other lentil. The Polish New Year’s food is herring, which promises an “abundance of good health” with its omega-3 fats. According to a Vietnamese folk tale, a king once found happiness in eating plain rice cakes stuffed with bean paste and minced pork. Lucky foods are just one option for your New Years party menu.

One approach to New Year’s Eve food is the “breads and spreads” theme. Your buffet table will have little plates ideal for grab-and-go foods like Mediterranean hummus, feta cheese and herb pâté spreads; stuffed grape leaves, stuffed olives and spinach pie triangles make nice additions to this plate. Gourmet cheese is always a hit, so be on the look out for pepato, Asiago, Monchego and Brie. Cheese goes well with crackers, fresh berries and warm baguettes. Mini-croissant sandwiches made of turkey, Brie and basil aioli are to die for. Little slices of filet mignon with bleu cheese crumbles, Vermont cheddar, crispy onions and horseradish cream make a nice dish as well.

The Food Network recommends a number of different New Year’s Eve food menus (at, depending on which sort of ambiance you’re going for. A classic menu might include Scallops on the half shell, Pear and Blue Cheese Salad, Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Roast Beef with Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce, Raspberry and Lemon-grass Trifle, and a Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail. A more modern menu can spruce things up with Raw Oysters on the half shell, Orange and Fennel Salad, Baked Fresh Ham with Citrus-Rum Glaze, Garlic Roast Potatoes, Pear Tartlets and Pomegranate Martinis. For an elegant spread, try Gaufrette Potatoes with Gravlax, Sour Cream and Osetra Caviar, Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon and Apple Cider Dressing, Savory Mashed Root Vegetables, Roast Prime Rib of Beef with Horseradish Crust, Pomegranate Gelatin and a Crystal Cocktail. A fun menu mix might include Potato Blini with Caviar, Warm Lobster Salad, Pork Tenderloin en Croute, Cold String Beans with Vodka Vinaigrette, Red Wine Poached Pears with Mascarpone Filling and Champagne Punch.

To set up your feast, check out your local party supply store to find some tasteful, carefully chosen decorations for your buffet table. Or you may want a simple wintry bouquet of flowers to adorn your table. Festive tablecloths and scented candles can go a long way. Bring out the nice party platters for your New Year’s Eve food (and if you don’t have them — buy them! Presentation is everything!) Be sure that you set up one designated “food area” and one “drink area” to limit confusion. Nothing is worse than wandering around, wondering where a passerby’s delicious tray of food just came from. Be sure that all food is good at room temperature, so nothing starts tasting funky. You needn’t create a feast for celebrities — but rather, a carefully chosen array of different tastes will be just fine.

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