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Does one have to serve dessert at a dinner party?

My husband and I have absolutely no sweet tooth. I have always made something for guests at small dinners we've hosted, but got to wondering if that was really neccesary. Do all dinners parties need a dessert, or perhaps I can make something really easy? Would I been shunned if I stopped making them?!

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  1. People are funny animals. You give a nice dinner party with some great food and drink, but all they remember is there was no desert served.

    I would be very happy if you served some nice cookies.....even store bought.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      i agree...even something easy would be fine.
      for some of our guests, dessert is just an excuse to drink coffee & dessert wine anyway.

    2. Yes, you do need a dessert. Sorry! It's just expected, and most people do have a sweet tooth. I wouldn't shun you, but I'd offer to bring a cake the next time. You can ask one of your guests to do this, or you can do something really easy yourself. This time of year, I'd make an apple cake or crisp. Even if the rest of your meal is very sophisticated, no one who likes sweets will turn down an apple crisp. Another, even easier option is to serve sweetened chestnut paste side by side with plain nonfat Greek yogurt or fromage frais. You will probably hate it, but your guests will love it.

      1. Absolutely. You must serve dessert. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Go European. Serve the cheese course as dessert. Maybe you will start a new trend. It worked for me.

        3 Replies
        1. re: decolady

          I like this idea. Fresh fruit and a nice cheese or two sounds like the perfect ending to a dinner party meal. But then I fall into the "minimal sweet tooth" category. :)

          1. re: Aravisea

            I have a pretty big sweet tooth but i would actually love this!

            1. re: Aravisea

              This is a fine way to end a meal. I know a lot of people we entertain are not big on desserts. Fruit, if it's good is a perfect way to end a meal.

          2. Some really good chocolates with coffee? I would point out that in much of France, it's quite proper to obtain dessert for a dinner party from a good bakery and the housewife is quite unabashed about saying, "Oh, the lemon tarts are from Patisserie Foofoo. Pierre adores them." Easier than cheese and fruit. People are always worried about the "polite way" to eat fruit at the end of a fancier dinner.

            But serving nothing and announcing "Pierre and I don't eat dessert, so we're not having any," with or without the offer of coffee or after-dinner liqueurs seems a tad ... uh...idiosyncratic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lemons

              I like this idea, actually - I find that after a big meal (which is what usually gets served at dinner parties), no one wants a whole serving of dessert, but everyone can make room for a little chocolate or a small cookie. I love to make truffles and I know my friends would be more than happy with a truffle or two rather than a big slice of something (except at Thanksgiving, of course!).

              I love a cheese course too, myself - and especially if you make some type of compote (like figs in wine or something) to dress it up a bit I'm sure no one would quibble.

            2. I disagree. Suppose it depends on your circle of friends, but very few of ours want dessert. Is this a cultural thing? Those who do like dessert are forewarned to bring it. There is always cheese, and fresh fruit for those who want it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lagatta

                I have a sweet tooth, and I would consider cheese and fruit after a delicious meal a perfectly acceptable dessert. In fact, my husband and I have often ordered the cheese course in certain restaurants and had no room for anything else. I think the OP was asking if it was okay to serve nothing (no cheese, fruit or dessert type things) and my answer is still no.