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Dessert is the last thing a delegate will experience during a meal, and it’s often the part they remember most. With that in mind, carefully selecting the right dessert shows your guests that you’ve thought about their experience from start to finish. Here are five ways you can use dessert to make a sweet (or savoury) impression.
With a new facility opening in 2017, the award-winning Halifax Convention Centre team has been taking a closer look at new trends and drivers of customer experience. With food playing such an important role in the overall event experience, dessert offerings is a key area of focus.
Made For Networking
Food and networking go hand-in-hand, and dessert is no exception. As the final moment in a meal, dessert comes after tablemates have connected and gotten to know one another, offering an opportunity for delegates to focus on and enjoy what they’re eating.
Whether it's a sit-down meal or a standing reception, grab-and-go desserts mean delegates can move freely through the room, making meaningful connections without being tied to their table, fork or plate. Sandwich-style desserts, like whoopie pies, ice cream sandwiches and macarons are popular options that can still pack layers of flavour.
Classics, With A Twist
Dessert offers a moment of comfort and indulgence during what often is an action-packed itinerary. Delegates want familiar options, with ingredients they recognize, presented in an interesting way. Whether a dessert incorporates a new technique or a unique flavour combination, delegates expect the unexpected.
Menu items like silken tofu cheesecake, salt water taffy and earl grey meringue—‘classic’ doesn’t have to mean ‘boring’. The opportunity lies in how classic desserts are reinvented. Working with your venue to take a familiar dessert and flip it on its head can elevate your meal from good to great.
Savoury Meets Sweet
Using chocolate in a dessert is expected. Pastry chefs continue to bend the rules by blending sweet and savoury ingredients. Fusing together sweet and savoury leads to desserts that hit all five tastes in one bite—sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.
From herbs, to teas, to root vegetables—desserts that find the right balance of complimentary sweet and savoury build layers of flavour that can take even the simplest dessert to a new level.
Fresh, Quality Ingredients
Delegates want to know what they’re eating, and that their meal is made with quality ingredients. Gone are the days when cream and butter were off limits. People have come to understand that, in moderation, healthy fats and whole foods are not only good, but are the foundation for flavourful, well-rounded desserts.
The use of whole foods makes it easier to accommodate allergies and food sensitivities, too. By avoiding pre-packaged products or artificial fillers, delegate requests become a cake walk, because your venue has full control over the food they’re creating and can determine the best way to accommodate the request.
Local Suppliers, Seasonal Ingredients
It’s not just about what ingredients are in your dessert—it’s also about where they come from. The meals delegates enjoy, desserts included, are opportunities to immerse your guests in the local community without the need to leave your venue. When planning your event dessert options, consider what is popular in the community surrounding your host region, and challenge your venue to bring the local community to your delegates’ plates.
Seasonal trends aren’t limited to your wardrobe. A seasonal dessert is always popular, because it indicates to delegates that what they’re eating is fresh and locally-sourced. When temperatures rise, refreshing desserts can cool down a packed space and conversely, as leaves and temperatures fall, cravings for warm, comforting desserts are at an all-time high.
Every piece of your menu can contribute to a unique and unforgettable event experience, and dessert is no exception. When designing a complete event menu, take the time with your venue to talk about how to best cap off your meal experience. While dessert may be the last bite of the meal, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Consider creating a menu with some lighter first courses, but a more decadent dessert to give delegates a moment to remember.