wine tasting arrangement

Perhaps it’s their precious size. Perhaps it’s the variety. Or perhaps it’s mere quantity. Whatever the reason, tasting menus–or flights–have a way of turning mundane meals into magical moments. Tasting menus give guests a chance to try a wide variety of dishes, drinks, or hors devours, all without shattering your catering estimates. Some “flights” have been around for decades, but creative caterers have brought new life to the category in recent years. Here are a few of the ideas that have caught our attention (and our appetites).

Chili Flights

mini chili samples
Image by MdAgDept

Cold winter days have you craving something savory and filling? Multiply that craving by 5-10 and create a flight of chilis for your next party. Whether thrown in conjunction with a cooking contest or simply catered, chili never goes out of style.

40-Course Meal

mini fruit skewer

We first heard about the 40-course meal as a lighthearted potluck for college students. Each would bring a “course” for the group of 40. A single grape, one Ritz cracker, or an individual pepperoni. The hilarious idea may not be fine dining, but it sure sounds like a riot.

Local Beer Tasting

Washington beer flight
Image by Alan Levine

Regardless of where you live, there are likely a litany of local brewers eager to get the word out about their ales. Serve small glasses of beer with small cards describing each maker and process. You’ll be helping local brands while entertaining your crowd.

Deep Fried Delicacies

fried cheese curds
Image by Quinn Dombrowski

Bring the Iowa State Fair to your event. As Presidential candidates have shown us, there’s nothing that can’t be fried. From fried Oreos to fried pickles and even fried butter, if it tastes good, it probably tastes better fried.

Themed Wine Flights

wine tasting flight
Image by Britt Reints

Certainly the most traditional of the tasting menus, wine flights are a long-held staple of wine bars everywhere. They allow guests to sample multiple offerings while keeping waste (or overconsumption) to a minimum.