Today I’m sharing easy ways to get the party started, with these Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups. Delicous!

Conversation Starter Appetizer: Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups

A party is not a party without good food, right? The reason I say a party is not a party … is because, well, we all know how important it is to have good food. Good food and great people. :)

I get a lot of questions about what to serve at parties, so I thought I’d tell you a bit about my weekend at the Indulge Conference, in Portland, Oregon (hosted by these amazing ladies), with Harry & David as a sponsor, and a fabulous Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups appetizer that you may want to serve at your next party!

Conversation Starter Appetizer.

Chef Timothy Keller was on the scene the minute guests arrived at the Monaco (Kimpton) Hotel, serving up his delicious Oregonianlicious appetizers (here’s my visit at the same hotel a few years ago for my 50th birthday). He was creating mini Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups and Royal Riviera Pears with Lemon Curd and Blue Cheese (served on a cracker), and serving the conference attendees!

Sometimes you have to “adjust” at a party, because you want to keep the focus on your food and on the guests, to encourage good conversation! Especially at a conference, when so many people do not know each other. As the guests arrived, the Harry & David team was by the registration table, greeting and serving an assortment of fabulous appetizers.

But then, everyone moved into the “living room” (and if you’re been to a Kimpton Hotel, you know how cool their social and happy hour time is, with live music!).

Conversation Starter Appetizer: Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups

Before we knew it, the H&D crew moved the food, table, banner—all the goods—into the area, to be with all the conference guests, plus any guest in Portland who was staying at the hotel.

How hospitable is that? It was all about the people, not necessarily just “our little group.”

3 Simple Tips for Serving Appetizers:

1. Start out with foods and drinks in different rooms: This encourages guests to move from room to room, and try new foods and drinks. Plus, it helps guests mingle and get to know new people!

2. There are several ways to make appetizers. You can have them all prepared in advance, or you can have someone making them “fresh” at the event, immediately handing them to the guests. This way people can say, “hold the fresh mint,” or “cashew,” or maybe something they are allergic to.

3. Grab a person who might be on the quieter side, and give them a job! Ask them to go around and serve the guests the appetizers (display the tray, offer them a napkin).

A tray of delicious appetizers is like a protective party armor (for the shy person), or like an ice breaker for the outgoing person.

Other Portland Highlights.

A few other highlights from our Portland trip involved hanging with some of my best blogging buddies! We walked to Tasty n Alder. Oh my word, that place served a fantastic menu!

Indulge Conference, Portland, OR

Carrie, Shawn,Kristen, Lori, Bev, Elise, Heidi, Ali, Amy, her beautiful daughter, (and me).

Indulge Conference, Portland, OR

The first night, we ate in East Portland at Ned Ludd (historic King neighborhood).

Indulge Conference, Portland, OR

Of course we indulged at Salt and Straw that evening after dinner.

Indulge Conference, Portland, OR

Carrie also took us shopping, and we enjoyed a little lunch at Elephant’s.

Indulge Conference, Portland, OR

Each morning, we walked through the city and down by the river. (I actually captured this shot while driving over the bridge the night before.)

Indulge Conference, Portland, OR

Um … yes, these are Voodoo Donuts.

Indulge Conference, Portland, OR

And these fun girls.

Urban Farmer, Portland Oregon

The last evening, Harry & David hosted a group of bloggers at Portland Urban Farmer restaurant, on top of The Nines Hotel.

Conversation Starter Appetizer: Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups

I’ll be able to share with you later about our brainstorming session, with this amazing group of talented folks.

Conversation Starter Appetizer: Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups

It was an awesome, well-planned, Porlandlicious (thank, Bev!) weekend. Thanks, Portland, Harry & David, and Chef Timothy Keller and Christie and Lauren!

And now for Chef Tim’s amazing appetizer. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite way to serve appetizers at a party?

Conversation Starter Appetizer: Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups

Conversation Starter Appetizer: Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups
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Mango Chutney Ginger Cucumber Cups

Recipe by Harry & David’s Chef Tim Keller.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 candied ginger slices
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney
  • 10 large cashews
  • 10 fresh mint leaves

Instructions

  • Peel or score the outside of the cucumber lengthwise, leaving some of the skin for both color and texture. Remove ends of the cucumber and discard. Slice the cucumber into ten 1-inch wheels.
  • Scoop out some of the center of each wheel using a thin spoon or melon baller to make a slight indentation. Be careful not to scoop a hole in the cucumber.
  • Julienne the candied ginger and set aside.
  • Spoon the chutney evenly  onto the cucumber slices. Top with one cashew, one piece of candied ginger, and one mint leaf.
  • Serve chilled.
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Other recap posts:

Completely Delicious

Bev Cooks

Climbing Grier Mountain

If you want to read more about the Monaco, I visited The Alexix Hotel (a downtown Seattle Kimpton hotel) earlier this year, and was hosted 2 years ago by Travel Oregon for my 50th birthday at the Portland Hotel Monaco!

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