Let’s face it, even the most accomplished host can feel stressed when handed a food restriction bomb along with a guest’s coat.
You need never find yourself sequestered in the kitchen, missing out on the pre-dinner drinks with the crowd, while you try to come up with a desperate plan of accommodation. Simply make planning for dietary restrictions a natural part of your overall party preparations.
As a host, you begin to create an atmosphere where your guests feel special and cared for right at the time of the invitation by asking about food restrictions. I use this phrase as a general term for foods people are unable to consume for reasons of health, philosophy or aversion. If you’re unsure what your cousin’s girlfriend’s frutarianism means, talk with her to get a good understanding of what she requires to feel welcome at the table.
Accommodation might be accomplished by providing a variety of dishes, some of which diners with restrictions can simply choose not to put on their plates, yet still have a well-rounded meal. Or, depending on the type and variety of restrictions you’re dealing with, it may be possible to serve at least some selections that are multiple-restriction friendly as well as general crowd pleasers.
A case in point is this vegan chocolate mousse. Come on, just look at it: can’t you imagine its intense chocolate flavour and smooth, creamy texture? Would you guess that it’s made with avocados and sweetened with dates and maple syrup?
I make it for a special someone with a dairy sensitivity. It may also be a good choice for folks avoiding refined sugars. It’s gluten-free and raw as well. As for the omnivores around the table, they’ll just appreciate how good it tastes.
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
This gently sweet dessert is rich in chocolate flavour; the avocado is truly a ‘mystery ingredient.’ Makes four modest yet satisfying portions; two if you like your desserts large. Preparation time is about 15 minutes.
- 1 large avocado
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 medium medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup unflavoured almond milk or rice milk
Scoop the avocado flesh into the bowl of a small food processor. Add the cacao powder, maple syrup and dates. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the non-dairy milk and process until light and smooth.
Since avocados vary in size, it’s important to taste the mixture and adjust the chocolate and sweetness if required. You should not be able to taste the avocado. If you like a lighter consistency to your mousse, add more almond milk.
To remove any lingering small bits of the dates, pass the mousse through a sieve before dividing evenly among four small dessert dishes (I like to use espresso cups).
Cover and store in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. This dessert tastes best on the day it is made.