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Theme Party Ideas: Theme: Black & Tan

We're hosting a party with a theme of Black & Tan. The theme will apply to the decor, dress and of course food. So, here's my question...what foods do you think fall into this category? I've come up with a few so far....squid ink pasta, hummus with black chips, black bean soup. Thoughts & ideas appreciated.


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  1. Black pudding/blood sausages, forbidden or wild rice, dark chocolate drops or squares topped by a nut butter or drizzle of butterscotch or over toffee, oatmeal raisin cookies, dark chocolate Petit Ecolier cookies, mind erasers (kahlua+soda water), anything blackened or made with mushrooms...

    1. Sounds like fun, I love theme parties...I also love squid ink pasta, but some people can find it a bit strong for them...

      "Black"ened steak, fish, shrimp or chicken could also fit in there..heck I just like spicy food!

      1. You may already know this, but there is a Yuengling beer named Black & Tan. I'm not a beer drinker, so I can't speak to its qualities, but it is a favorite among friends.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lisavf

          A Black and Tan is actually Guiness and Bass or sometimes Harp.
          I've had the Yuengling and it doesn't hold a candle to a true Black & tan, but considering they are best poured on tap, Yuengling wouldn't be a bad choice

        2. Ben and Jerry's Black and Tan ice cream
          Guiness ice cream floats
          creamy porcini mushroom soup

          1 Reply
          1. re: Miss Needle

            Do you remember the "Death By Chocolate" dessert? It's chocolate cake soaked in Kahlua, then layered in a trifle bowl with chocolate pudding, crushed Skor and whipped cream? I haven't had this in years:

          2. -Black diamond steaks - I'm not a fan, but they fit the theme and would add another savory dish.
            -Black bean dip
            -Black olive tapenade on crostini or pitas.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lynnlato

              Black olive tapenade and hummus, side by side would be a cool b/t presentation.

            2. Another drink idea would be Ice Picks. Good strong iced tea mixed with your favorite flavor of vodka. My fave is Absolut Currant. Makes the tea taste just like some of the good flavored teas (Republic of Tea, etc.) only with a kick.

              1. I think this is available all over- there is a chocolate peanut butter dessert by Jello brand that usually is stocked in grocery stores near the cake mixes, It ends up looking like a layered peanut butter (tan) and chocolate (black) loaf. Never made it myself and it probably is not that great tasting since its from a box, but it fits the theme.

                1. There are some cheeses that have a black wax coating which would look great cut into wedges, and I think I've seen some goat cheeses rolled in black peppercorns. You could make a cheese platter with dark plums and Concord grapes (if you can find them).

                  Oven-fried potatoes with coarse black pepper.

                  There's Russian black bread, which is really dark brown but darker than rye due to the inclusion of cocoa powder and coffee. Would make great little Reuben sandwiches. But you'd have to call the coleslaw the tan.

                  Eggplant aren't really even purple, but they often look black to me. Maybe little stacks of eggplant parmesan sandwiches.

                  1. Black Sesame ice cream.

                    Salad with Japanese black sesame vinaigrette (available in Japanese grocery store)

                    Black pepper crusted beef fillets / Blackened catfish fillets / salmon etc, etc. You can also sue black sesame crust instead of black pepper (black sesame crusted tuna steak, for instance)

                    Mussels? (the shells are close to black)

                    Roasted whole Black bass (with skin, of course)

                    For tan, may be mushroom anything? (mushroom cream soup, pasta, etc.); Gravy on something.

                    1. Make hershey's black magic cake w/ dutch processed dark cocoa and then frost w/ pb frosting.

                      Buckeyes made with dark chocolate

                      Ahi tuna rolled in black sesame seeds

                      "sushi" with nori and brown rice

                      1. black lentil and garbanzo salad
                        peanut butter cups (tho really tan and brown...)
                        blackberry crostata
                        caviar bruschetta
                        devil's food cupcakes with a butterscotch frosting
                        black pepper chicken
                        black grapes, blackberries and cheese plate
                        toasted nori with a chop of seared albacore on top
                        black lentils toasted with seared scallops (that have been coated in tan crumbs?)

                          1. For desserts, Meringue "Mushrooms"... cap and stem (piped through a pastry bag) of mushroom made by meringue , attached by melted chocolate and sprinkled with cocoa...

                            Dark chocolate pastry shells (available at local markets or online) filled with fresh vanilla bean-infused home-made whipped cream and garnished with a half of strawberry and/or a chocolate "curl".

                            Alternating Vanilla and Chocolate custard/pudding layered in pretty, tall, cocktail glasses...garnished with curls of chocolate peeled with a veggie peeler.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ideabaker

                              Thanks so much for all the wonderful suggestions & ideas. We'll have fun putting together our menu and decor.


                              1. re: Pawsinhand

                                please post your menu as well as what worked and what didn't!

                                1. re: Caralien

                                  we hope to finalize the menu in the next few weeks. The party isn't until late April, but I will post our menu before then!


                            2. I baked a black and tan pie last year. Blindbake a single pie crust, fill with caramel pudding on the bottom, top with dark chocolate french silk pie filling, then broiled meringue for the faux head of foam. Any light brown-colored filling can be put in the bottom, like peanut butter mousse, dulce de leche custard, butterscotch...

                              1. spicy garabanzo bean soup with sour dough olive bread - I've made this many times its very good..
                                little sandwiches with black russian bread and pastrami
                                butterscotch puddings with dark chocolate chips
                                or a dark chocolate crust pie crust with carmel ice cream, freeze it then slice
                                and I have a recipe from epicurious for mousse like dessert that is half dark chocholate and peanut butter, actually was their cover photo many years ago.