We’re having a spread cocktail party. It’s not a Christmas/holiday party: We’re deliberately doing something different.

There will be no cheese ball covered with bright red pomegranate arils, no eggnog scented with nutmeg, no holiday cookies. Just spreads.

In fact, we’re calling them cocktail spreads, since we’ll be serving them with wine and cocktails.

It’s not that we’re anti-Christmas; it’s just that we’ll be eating all the traditional seasonal party foods at everyone else’s parties.
 
 
WHAT’S A SPREAD?

A spread is a food that is literally spread, generally with a knife, onto bread, crackers or similar foods. The bread serves as a base to enjoy the flavorful spread.

Spreads are distinguished from dips, which are not spread onto a food but but have food dipped into them instead. Spreads are thicker, dips are tinner.

Spreads can be made from

  • Dairy (butter, cheese and creams
  • Honey, jams, jellies
  • Hummus
  • Yeast (Marmite, Vegemite)
  • Meat-based spreads (pâté)
  •  
     
    SAVORY SPREADS

    We we’ll be serving a dozen choices from this master list. Make a selection of different colors and intensities (mild to pungent).

  • Anchovy paste
  • Artichoke spread
  • Bacon jam
  • Black truffle spread
  • Caramelized onions
  • Caviar spread/taramasalata
  • Chicken liver spread/mousse/chopped liver
  • Chutney spread
  • Compound butter
  • Cheese spread (goat cheese, pimento cheese and on and on)
  • Crab spread
  • Cream cheese spread (horseradish bacon and many other options)
  • Deviled ham
  • Eggplant spread
  • Flavored mayonnaise
  • Garlic spread
  • Harissa spread
  • Hummus
  • Jalapeño cream cheese
  • Lardo (cured prosciutto fat)
  • Marmite
  • Mushroom spread
  • Mustard spread (cream cheese)
  • Olive spread/tapenade
  • Onion balsamic spread
  • Pepper jelly
  • Pesto
  • Red Pepper Spread (bell)
  • Ricotta herb spread
  • Salmon spread
  • Sundried tomato spread
  • Tuna spread
  • Vegemite
  • White bean spread
  • Yogurt herb spread
  •  
     
    HOW TO SERVE THE SPREADS

    Set everything out buffet-style.

    Fortunately, we’ve got lots of bowls, and baskets for the different breads, toasts and crackers (the most interesting ones we can find).

    There will be gluten-free crackers and crudités for the carb-averse.

    And for those who need something more “substantial,” there will be a honey baked ham with honey mustard, and a poached salmon with yet another spread: sour cream and dill.

    Now for the tough work: cutting down the list of spreads to pick an interesting collection.

     

    Pimento Cheese Spread Recipe
    [1] Pimento cheese spread. Here’s the recipe from Wisconsin Cheese Talk.

    Spinach Spread
    [2] Spinach spread. Here’s the recipe from Calculus To Cupcakes. You can blend arugula, broccoli rabe, kale, watercress or other greens with the spinach.

    Tarama Caviar Spread
    [3] Tarama (caviar) spread, using the tiny orange or reddish roe of carp, cod or mullet. Here’s the recipe from David Lebovitz.

    White Bean Spread

    [4] White bean dip, from David Tanis Market Cooking.

     

      


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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