Dinner is something most people have everyday, but it can also mark a special occasion, from holidays to business and, why not, romantic dinners. It is important to be clear that a proper dinner is not a like brunch or a buffet; it is a momentous affair that needs to be carefully planned and executed. First things first, and that would be the appetizers, or hors d’oeuvre. Appetizers are served before the main courses, therefore they should be light snacks that will not fill the guests up before the actual dinner takes place. Common appetizers include Buffalo wings, canapés, cold cuts, crudités, deviled eggs, cheeses, nachos, sausages, dumplings, bruschetta, cocktail wieners and tongue toast.

After the hors doeuvre comes the entree, usually a small serving not including red meat. Since soups, bisques and consommés are popular as an entree, this part of the dinner is frequently called soup course. This specifics however, vary from country to country. In Italy, for instance, antipasto is served, a dish that may include olives, roasted garlic, mushrooms, anchovies, peperoncini, artichoke hearts, cured meats, various cheeses and peperone. In the United States on the other hand, the appetizer may be the entree, and the entree the main course.

The centerpiece of the dinner is the main course, and as such, it is usually the largest and most intricate dish. Given the fact that the main course’s principal ingredient is either fish or some kind of meat, it is commonly called the meat course. The main course may be either preceded or followed by a salad course. Salad may also accompany a cheese course. In this case, a cheese selection is presented with a proper selection of wine. The final course of the dinner is the dessert, which can be hot or cold, and accompanied by a dessert wine.