5 Earthy Amuse-Bouche Ideas for Your Next Dinner Party
Amuse-bouche. Literally, amuse the mouth. It’s a requirement for any restaurant worth its salt, and a staple of a good dinner party. Amuse-bouche should be novel, memorable, and above all, daring. However, as a veteran host or hostess, you’ve already done the canapés, the ceviche, the spicy edamame with volcanic rock salt. To your chagrin, your amuse-bouche game is now something an entertainer of the palate must never be—boring. Consequently, you need new amuse-bouche ideas, and fast.
Well, what better way to electrify your guests’ palates than with a return to their primordial roots? Skip the packaged meats and wilting herbs of your local Whole Foods. Start thinking about hors-d’oeuvres that are unprocessed, organic, and occasionally picked right out of your backyard. We suggest you start your foray into the forest with these five earthy, all-natural amuse-bouche ideas inspired by the wilderness itself.
1. Spruce sap coulis in a mushroom cap
You can collect lumps of spruce sap straight from the tree and simmer it in mineral water to make this divine golden sauce. It works wonders as an accompaniment to a savory main dish, but as an amuse-bouche, the tangy, piney flavor of the tree gets to truly shine. Serve this delicious sauce in jack-o’lantern caps. The bright orange mushrooms work beautifully as vessels for your coulis and create a vibrant harvest color palette.
Pro-tip: Advise guests against eating the actual mushroom caps, which are poisonous.
2. Deersblood jelly on birchbark crostini
For the truly bold, this tasty curd, served on miniature scrolls of birch bark, evokes the earthy vitality of spring and the adrenaline rush of being a viable food source for most large predators. Best of all, your guests will rest easy knowing that no animals were killed in the making of this amuse-bouche. Instead, you simply followed a deer around until it was injured from natural causes and collected the blood fresh from the very heart of the wilderness.
Pro-tip: Deer blood is rich in vitamin C, protein, phosphorus, and other important nutrients. Serve this bite with tiny hand-written nutrition fact cards for your guests’ edification.
3. Single river pebble
Holding a stone in one’s mouth is an ancient technique designed to stave off the sensation of thirst by keeping the mouth moist. Your guests will love connecting with their hunter-gatherer roots by placing smooth river pebbles ($1500, set of 12, two mineral compositions available) in their mouths between courses. By naturally stimulating the production of saliva, this truly earthy amuse-bouche will pique the appetite and clear the palate of strong flavors!
Pro-tip: Weather permitting, hold your dinner or luncheon outdoors. Guests can simply toss the pebbles onto the ground when the next course arrives. No cleanup required!
4. The sky
Who hasn’t looked up at the sky and felt as if they were breathing in the very essence of good health and positive energy? Spritz these miniature mirror saucers ($669, set of 4) with chilled mineral water. Serve them under the open sky for a fun and cerebral amuse-bouche that shines—literally—as a before-dessert palate cleanser. Be sure to allow time for your guests to first admire the mirrored images of the celestial sphere. Then they can sip the tiny beads of sky-infused water off their dainty stainless steel saucers.
Pro-tip: Holding your event indoors? Not a problem! Prepare this amuse-bouche ahead of time and set it outside to soak up some sky before serving it to your guests.
5. Hamachi with wild ivy, crystallized seawater, and salmon roe
We all have those friends who shy away from anything unusual or groundbreaking. They might need some baby steps in order to ease into these trendy amuse-bouche ideas. The staple of yellowfin sashimi provides a familiar base for a sprig of wild ivy plucked straight from the vine. A fusion of the comforting and the innovative, this amuse-bouche is finished with a few dots of jewel-like caviar and a sprinkle of sea salt. Finally, serve it speared on these delicate forks ($320, set of 4) for your guests’ convenience.
Pro-tip: Carefully hand-crumpling each ivy leaf will give it the appearance of a sheet of nori and create a seamless aesthetic for this cleverly designed bite!