The key to a successful brunch is the use of finger foods arranged into an easily accessible layout. It's important to always ensure a range in heights, keeping pastries or desserts on tiered serving platters and main dishes on low, generously sized platters complete with festive garnishes.
Give each guest a pastry bag filled with icing to use as mortar for their holiday home. Or, simply put out a few bowls filled with frosting so that the guests can spread it on with a knife. Kids may need a little help with this part; parents can frost while kids attach the candy.
For a holiday breakfast kit, wrap three cooled biscuits in waxed paper. Tuck inside the white pastry box with a jar of flavored fruit butter. Tuck a cinnamon stick or two inside, if desired, to add to the aroma of your gift. Cut one-inch-wide strips of burlap and tie on top of the closed box. Attach the faux greenery to the burlap knot with the raffia ribbon. Now, you're ready to present the gift!
Entertainment and a splendid cap to your meal in one, ask one of the Cafe Intermezzo servers for a tour of their dessert offerings and sit back for an extensive show-and-tell. This European-style coffee house smack dab in the center of Avalon has an endless selection of coffee and tea offerings as well as an impressive list of Southern and European classic cakes, pies and pastries from black forest cake to tiramisu, cheesecakes and crepes. Brunch and dinner options are also available, but you owe it to yourself to stop in at least for a drink and to soak in the old world atmosphere.
Of course, apple pie is the go-to dessert everyone knows and loves. Whether you’re serving deep dish, double crust, lattice-top or Dutch crumb, it’s tough to beat this American classic. This year, up your pie game by trying some new twists on a family favorite. Marry apple with other tasty ingredients to deliver a whole new crowd pleaser. Good apple combinations include cranberry, raisin, raspberry, dates and pear. Toss nuts into the filling, or switch up spices, swapping cinnamon for Chinese five-spice. Trade pastry for a ginger snap or cinnamon graham cracker crust. You can freeze unbaked apple pies for a quick dessert that’s equally cozy and impressive. Or save your freezer space by making home-canned apple pie filling. It comes together in a snap with a boiling water bath and turns out wonderful fresh-tasting pies for the holidays and beyond.
What do you get when you combine works from a billion dollar art collection and a decadent, seasonal menu masterminded by French Laundry vet and executive chef Christopher Grossman? You get one of Atlanta's most memorable nights out in the tony Buckhead neighborhood. Atlas, on the ground floor of the St. Regis hotel has been open since 2015 but in spring 2019 adds a gorgeous glassed-in "outdoor" dining room reminiscent of vintage European train stations or Paris's Ritz dining room. There is live music in the Tavern Wednesday through Friday, so giddy dancing and general merriment is likely afoot, next to a subdued main dining room where you can dine beneath a Picasso or a Chagall. Locally-sourced ingredients pay homage to Georgia's red clay bounty and inventive, indulgent dishes like a foie gras jus with agnolotti and black truffles and trout with garlic-braised kale and mushrooms alongside pastry chef Christian Castillo's desserts make for destination dining. Oneophiles should check in with personable sommelier Samuel Gamble who offers more than 80 wines by the glass and can expand your vino knowledge exponentially in an evening.
Il Giallo Osteria and Bar in Sandy Springs is a chef-forward Italian experience located close to all of Atlanta's action but with the unusual appeal of plenty of free parking (yes, it is a big deal in this valet and paid parking-crazy town) in a handsome, open space. Chef and co-owner Jamie Adams features fresh, homemade pasta in his open-kitchen for diners who enjoy a little cooking show entertainment with their meal. Adams' agnolotti with brown butter and sage has been featured on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate, but there are plenty of other culinary delights on offer including polpette turkey and duck meatballs, a distinctive calamari studded with capers, and a short rib ravioli and a rotating cast of pasta dishes that make this a local favorite. With a talented pastry chef onboard, desserts are just as notable and some of the stars of the show, including the strawberry jam and mascarpone strawberry pizza, bomboloni and a decadent hazelnut bar like a European candy bar with a haute twist.