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Feeding Vegetarian Dinner Guests In Style

When planning a dinner party at your luxury holiday estate, you will undoubtedly have thought long and hard about the menu, painstakingly chosen the wine, and sourced the freshest of local ingredients. Yet even with all of the preparation and planning that you do, there is always the possibility that you will find yourself adding different or additional names to the guest list at the last minute. This seems fine until you realise that your last-minute guests are vegetarians, or perhaps even vegans (pure vegetarians who do not eat any animal products), and you are planning on serving pork.

First of all, as the saying goes, it is important to keep calm and carry-on. There is no need to scrap your plans and re-invent the wheel in this scenario. Because there is an emerging interest in plant-based eating that has been born of the interest generated by such bestselling books as T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study and Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live, there is an abundance of recipes containing quick, easy, and sophisticated vegetarian fare available to you at just the click of a mouse. You will easily be able to find something that not only compliments what you are already serving, but also draws from the same ingredients, thereby cutting back on food wastage.

One of the most common mistakes made by hosts and hostesses who are trying to come up with last-minute vegetarian meals, is that they feel the need to replace the meat with something “meat-like”. The western tradition of “meat and two veg” is something that most of us were raised on; it’s a staple of the standard western diet, and therefore is engrained in our psyches. When faced with this last-minute scenario, resist the urge to replace the pork that you are planning on serving your other guests with a processed meat facsimile, such as soy bacon or sliced “tofurkey” (a processed non-meat turkey product). It is important to remember that for vegetarians, vegetables are more than just a side dish, and therefore you can use what you (or your chef or caterer) already have in your larder. You might also be able to adjust your existing side dishes to accommodate a vegetarian or vegan guest by simply using plant-based oils, and leaving any meat garnishes (such as lardons) separate, to be added later by the server or the guests themselves.

This may seem like unfamiliar territory to you, especially when you are on your luxury holiday and in an estate kitchen that is unfamiliar, but rest assured, with some quick research and the brilliant cornucopia of information that is at your fingertips in the form of the internet, what might have seemed like a dinner party disaster can turn into an opportunity to show-off your culinary creativity.