How to make a sweet impression at your events

If you want to treat your guests to something really special at your next event, something that will leave a lasting impression and get them giddy with excitement, then it’s time to put some thought into what you will be serving for dessert.
The dessert course is often the most anticipated course of a gala dinner or wedding. It’s a sign not only that the event is coming to an end, but it is one of your last opportunities as the host to really knock the socks off your guests. 
Someone that knows all about creating indulgent desserts that leave a lasting impression is Deniz Karaca, Head Pastry Chef at EPICURE at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Not only does he create exceptional desserts for clients hosting their events at this iconic Melbourne venue, he is also the recent winner of the Savour Australia Patisserie of the Year Award 2016

Deniz Karaca | Savour Australia Patisserie of the Year 2016
Images: Deniz Karaca competing at the Savour Australia Awards, plus some of his delicious desserts.

We recently caught up with Deniz to discover the latest trends in desserts, what to consider when picking your menu and to get a sneak peak of his winning recipe - 'The Tart'! 

Join us as we discover how to make a sweet impression at events…

Dessert catering trends

What flavour combos are on trend for desserts?

My personal favourite is banana and passionfruit, a match made in heaven! 
Another trend that is high on the rise is pairing quality chocolates with wine- step aside cheese! People are loving it and we are getting great feedback on it!

What style of desserts are on trend – the traditional or modern?

I would say classics are back on the rise… perhaps with a little twist, but people are definitely getting back to the roots when it comes to desserts and food in general.

What style of service are people requesting – roving dessert canapes / dessert stations/ platters/ plated?

A little bit of everything I would say, depending on the occasion. Dessert stations and themed buffets are growing noticeably in popularity though!

Dessert service tips

For gala dinners, what do guests need to consider when choosing their dessert course?

I always say pick the dessert first and then plan your menu backwards. Being a pastry chef and confessed chocoholic myself, dessert is the most important course of the meal for me. So it’s really important that you finish lighter after an already rich main course, or vice versa.

For cocktail party events, what do guests need to consider when choosing dessert? 

For cocktail events, dessert stations combined with canapes are ideal. That way you get the wow factor from the buffet without having your guest crowding around one area. 

Is there a time when chocolate based desserts or fruit desserts are better than the other?

I love chocolate, so most of my desserts have some sort of chocolate component.  I usually also like to have a fruit component on most dishes, especially in summer. In saying that though, one should be very mindful of what’s in season when the actual event is held. Often guests pick a dessert at a menu tasting because it’s the best there and then, but this might not necessarily be the case in a couple of months to come. Think ahead!

                                  The Tart | Deniz Karaca
'The Tart' | Deniz Karaca's winning dessert

Dessert styling

How important is the styling (visual impact) of desserts?

It’s one of the most important aspects for me! I’m very visual myself, so when I plan a new dessert menu I usually establish first what I want the desserts to look like and then work on flavours and textures. After all a dessert is not a necessity, but a privilege we allow ourselves, so it has to be as enticing as possible!
#delicious #dessert #instafoodie 

What are some cool ways to serve sweets? 

There are a lot of cool serving props available these days, like mini fryer baskets for doughnuts, newspaper-look grease proof paper, tins, jars… Caterers are getting very creative and by serving desserts in interesting ways we can add to the excitement of the dining experience. 

Quick tips for making a sweet impression…

  • Make it visually appealing – Instagram worthy!
  • Make it easy to eat
  • Make it quick to serve
  • Make it taste good
  • Keep flavours simple
  • Make sure it is distinguishable, people want to know what they are eating
  • Know your produce, it’s good to have a relationship with suppliers so the food has a story to tell
Want to recreate (or at least try) Deniz’s winning dessert? Check out the recipe for 'The Tart' here.
If you want to host an event with an award-winning dessert experience, get in touch with the events team at EPICURE – you won’t be disappointed!