Serving and presentation are the biggest challenge in cooking for large parties. Serving cups and plates usually need to be disposable, and disposables are often ugly. More presentable glass cups and plates present their own challenges, not to mention cost. For our friend's dessert reception, we had to get creative. Serving various things like ice cream, verrines, and chocolate truffles to 350 people called for some scalable yet still pretty options. The secret to serving large quantities lies, we found, in restaurant supply stores, who offer many great disposable cups and glasses in bulk - which also cuts down on cost. The selection most of these online stores offer far outstrips retail party suppliers. Some of our favorite serving ideas below.
1. Hard plasticware - These are disposable and fairly economical, but crystal clear and glasslike. $4.59 for a case of 50 5-ounce glasses at the Webstaurant Store.
2. Paper souffl' cups - Use a melon baller to put tiny scoops of ice cream in these paper cups or use them for candy or cupcakes. $4.99 for a box of 250 at the Webstaurant Store.
3. Ice cream sticks - We're using these taster spoons for ice cream and verrines. $13.49 for a case of 1000 spoons at the Webstaurant Store.