Grapes add flavor and flair to seasonal entertaining

(BPT) – You already know grapes are a great, healthful and fun snack, a sweet addition to salads and a surprise ingredient that can add flavor to a variety of dishes. But did you also know grapes can add beauty, flavor and personality to seasonal entertaining?

The berries that have been pleasing American palates for nearly 200 years are great additions to cool-season dishes and decorations, whether you’re planning a fall family gathering, hosting the office holiday party, or planning a big New Year’s Eve bash. The <a href=”http://www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/all-about-grapes/#basic” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>California Table Grape Commission</a> offers some tips for incorporating grapes into seasonal celebrations:

<strong>1. The perfect pairing: cheese and grapes</strong>

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A cheese plate is an entertaining must that’s always a crowd pleaser. How can you make such a great thing even better? Add some grapes! The sweet juiciness of grapes is a perfect foil for the flavors of favorite cheeses, and they’re a naturally beautiful way to add color and visual interest to an ordinary cheese plate.

<strong>2. Grapes make cocktails great</strong>

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Cocktails are another favorite feature of seasonal entertaining. Give your guests something new to savor and talk about with a <a href=”http://www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/recipes/california-grape-cocktail/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>California grape cocktail</a> that blissfully weds your favorite California grapes (in any color) with vodka and Champagne.

<strong>3. Fruit plate equals a work of art</strong>

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Take a fresh approach to a traditional fruit plate by turning it into a work of art that your guests can eat! Arrange a base of green California grapes in a Christmas tree shape, and use red and black grapes to decorate the tree. Your edible art will disappear faster than you can say, “Ho, ho, ho!”

<strong>4. A pretty pickle</strong>

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For seasonal entertaining, dishes that can do double duty as decorations reduce your prep work and increase the wow factor for your guests. <a href=”http://www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/recipes/pickled-grapes/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Pickled grapes</a> add verve to any hors d’oeuvres platter, plus you can present them in a variety of clear containers — such as highball or margarita glasses — to allow their natural color to shine through.

<strong>5. Smarter stuffing</strong>

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What holiday meal would be complete without stuffing? However, traditional stuffing can be heavy, fatty and leave guests feeling overstuffed! <a href=”http://www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/recipes/grape-wild-rice-stuffing/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Grape and wild rice stuffing</a> is a lighter yet delicious option that pairs the flavor and nutritional benefits of grapes with the wholesomeness of brown and wild rice.

<strong>6. Whip up a wonderful dessert</strong>

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Pies, cookies, puddings, cakes — what seasonal celebration would be complete without a few desserts to bring the meal to a sweet conclusion? Add something frothy and flavorful to your dessert table with <a href=”http://www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/recipes/mini-pavlovas-lemon-cream-grapes/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>mini pavlovas with lemon cream and grapes</a>. The light, airy texture of meringue provides a pleasing base for the grapes and lemon cream. Top with chopped almonds for crunch, and you have a dessert guests will beg you to make again for your next gathering.

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