By Samantha Grose, designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO

Hosting a baby shower soon? Or a wedding shower? Or maybe just a fun get-together with friends? Try a toast bar!

Toast bars are gaining in popularity because of their simplicity, their “anything goes” set-up, and their interactive arrangement. Plus, it’s a great way to appease picky eaters (they top their toast with whatever toppings they select!) and accommodate special dietary needs. You can even go gluten-free with specialty breads like Udi’s or Food For Life.

Be sure to spread the table with both sweet and savory toppings. Think meats and cheeses, artisanal mustards, jellies and jams, cream cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, and tapenade. Make sure you have a nice variety of bread (pre-sliced is best if you’re using a toaster; if you’re using a toaster oven you can go with either pre-sliced or a whole loaf). Also, be sure to provide at least a couple toasters or toaster ovens. It’s no fun to wait in line too long.

Your friends will have fun selecting toppings and creating their perfect plate! At a recent baby shower I attended, the ladies got very creative with toppings. Some divided their toast into quadrants and put a different spread on each part. Others piled one piece with savory toppings and another piece with sweet toppings. Needless to say, it was a hit!

Pair the toast bar with a fresh fruit salad, a veggie tray, and a couple of dessert choices and you’re all set. Easy as…toast!

toast bar 1
toast one
Meats and Cheeses are essential for your toast bar. Select a variety of deli meats* (turkey, roast beef, ham, salami) and some specialty meats, such as prosciutto, pancetta, or  sopressata. Find a nice variety of cheeses–blue cheese, gorgonzola, gouda, sharp cheddar, goat cheese (there are many varieties to choose from), provolone, etc. We also included a few types of spreadable cheeses, including cheddar, Swiss (from Laughing Cow), and cream cheese.

*Note: Your mother-to-be will likely not be able to eat deli meat unless it is heated. Keep that in mind and set aside special cooked meats, just for her.

 

toast 2
Get Sweet with peanut butter, chocolate-hazelnut spread, jams, and jellies. We selected a variety of jellies, including strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and pineapple jalepeno (surprisingly good!). The most popular chocolate-hazelnut spread is, by far, Nutella, but you can find several alternative varieties (some organic) at your local grocery store. Trader Joe’s also offers a cocoa-almond spread that is really tasty!

 

toast 3
Don’t forget the Sandwich Spreads! Provide mayo and a variety of mustards for your guests. We love dijon mustard, especially Sir Kensington’s!

 

toast 4
Provide Tapenades and Savory Spreads. Savory spreads go well with any meat and cheese combo and provide a little kick to your toast bar. In addition to a traditional olive tapenade, we suggest a roasted red pepper tapenade (delicious!). You can also set out a pesto spread or any type of salsa.

 

toast 5
Don’t forget the Hummus! The beauty of hummus is that it comes in a variety of flavors and spice levels (from neutral to a pleasant burn). Try garlic, roasted bell pepper, or sun dried tomatoes and basil. Want to make your own? Check out these 15 different easy hummus recipes!

 

toast bar 3

 

toast 6
Last, but not least, the Bread! You can go as neutral or as wild as you’d like with bread varieties. My advice is to provide a wide range of choices for your guests. Choose pre-sliced white and wheat varieties in addition to heartier rye, ciabatta, or peasant breads. If you’re using a toaster (instead of a toaster oven), it’s best to go with the pre-sliced varieties. Visit a bakery and have fun selecting your breads!  

Samantha Grose, Associate AIA, Allied ASID Designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO

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Author: Samantha

Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the TWIN CITIES area having completed many new homes and large scale whole house remodels.

Samantha received her BS from the University of Minnesota majoring in both ARCHITECTURE and ART. She is deeply committed to a creative approach giving you highly functional spaces with an aesthetic appeal for everyday living.

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Written by Samantha

Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the...
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