10 Must-Have Serving Dishes for Your Next Dinner Party

27 March 2024

Guest list? Check. Menu including appetizer and dessert? Check. Twelve kinds of forks? Check. Who knew hosting a dinner party involved so much planning!

Hosting a dinner party, however, is more than just cooking and serving a fancy meal; it's an art. From cooking to presentation, every detail matters. Finding the right pieces can be a challenge—after all, the serveware you choose and the textiles you put on the table are a way to show off your personal style while also highlighting your role as the host or hostess of a delectable meal.

But hosting the perfect dinner party doesn't have to be difficult. Make your dinner even more delicious when you present it on fair trade serveware.

Responsive imageHandmade serveware

Why fair trade serveware?

When you choose handmade dinnerware from SERRV, you're not only choosing a beautiful presentation piece, you're also supporting fair trade. Our ethically made serveware is crafted by talented artisans in over a dozen different countries. From hand-painted ceramic serving dishes from the West Bank to wooden serving bowls from the Philippines, you'll be able to choose pieces that elevate your dinner party and bring a source of fair and vital income to fair trade artisans.

Essential Serving Dishes for Every Dinner Party

We've collected a list of our top 10 must-have serveware pieces for any host or hostess. From Each handcrafted serving platter and eco-friendly appetizer plate brings a unique blend of style, functionality, and artistry to your table.

1. Handcrafted serving platters

For your main course, whether it's dainty sandwiches, moist chicken breasts, or a tender pork roast, having a beautiful serving platter makes a difference. Certain platters bring out the best in the dish, while others highlight the artistry of the piece. At SERRV, we carry a variety of serving platters great for a variety of dishes.

Our Indigo Bloom Platter is a beautiful example of how you can elevate your dinner party with handmade. Whether you use it for showing off your hors d'oeuvres or simply use it as a statement piece, the brilliant blue on white makes an eye-catching statement piece. Fair trade artisans in the village of Bat Trang, Vietnam meticulously hand paint each bloom and leaf on this elegant hand-painted serving platter, earning a vital income for their work. Need something simpler? Our reactive-glazed Lak Lake Oval Platter is a great alternative.

Responsive imageHandmade serving platters

For a more subtle approach to statement-making, our Pressed Blossom Platter from Nepal is the way to go.

Serve in elevated style with our handmade serving trays from India. Whether you're carrying out drinks or serving veggies and dip, our wooden trays with bold screen-printed designs are sure to catch the eyes of your dinner party guests.

If you love hand-painted serveware, our West Bank Collection is for you. The beautiful serving platters in this collection feature traditionally-inspired floral motifs in bold colors, entirely hand painted by skilled artisans preserving ages-old crafting traditions while making a living. With two different shapes available, you'll find the perfect piece to fit your dinner party aesthetic.

2. Eco-friendly salad bowls

Presentation of a fresh salad is almost as important as the plating—that's why we recommend a beautiful and eco-friendly salad bowl set to show off your greens.

Two of our most popular eco-friendly salad bowl sets are made from fast-growing woods. Our simple and elegant Acacia Wood Salad Set features a generous serving bowl, six matching salad bowls for your guests, and a set of serving utensils, all carved entirely by hand by skilled artisans in the Philippines. Our Matra Salad Set, perfect for smaller dinner parties, will look great with dishes you already have on hand. Artisans in Indonesia carve this eye-catching bowl and salad hands from natural suar wood, then finish with a beautiful coconut shell inlay, all while earning vital income for their handcrafts.

Responsive imageMatra Salad Set

Springtime event? Our Lim Dom Bamboo Salad Set looks great with a brighter palette. This eco-friendly salad bowl set holds its beauty in the natural egg shell inlay (don't worry, it's food safe!) on its exterior, contrasting with hand spun bamboo from Vietnam.

3. Artisan-crafted serving spoons & forks

Every dinner party needs serving utensils. Unless you're serving exclusively finger foods (in which case, skip ahead to #4!), you'll need something to dish up that delicious casserole or tasty torte. That's where SERRV comes in! We carry several unique serving sets made from a variety of materials, all fair trade and handmade.

Stoneware ceramic utensils are a simple, stylish, and sustainable way to serve up your favorite dishes. Our partners in Nepal press natural clay into handmade molds to craft our Stone Gray Dhabba Serving Utensils. This pair of flat spoons is great for scooping casseroles and other hearty dishes.

For the modern host, our Dokari Serving Utensil s are an ideal choice. Each set is made from mixed metals hand hammered by our skilled artisan partners in Moradabad, India. They earn vital income for their work and gain the skills and confidence to open their own workshops. Our Serving Set with spork and spoon is great for salads, pastas and more, and the Dessert Set is perfect for cakes, pies and ice cream!

Wooden serving spoons and utensils are a go-to for almost any dinner party. Our Salad Sets come with sturdy wooden utensils, but you don't have to stop with salad! Stir soups, batters and more with a sturdy, artisan-crafted wooden serving spoon. Hosting a tea party? Choose our Olive Wood Juicer & Dipper Set. Artisans in the West Bank carve each of these beautiful handmade serveware pieces from natural olive wood, preserving ages-old crafting traditions while also securing gainful employment through fair trade.

4. Decorative Dip Bowls

Responsive imageAcacia wood dipping bowls & plates

Dips are a dinner party essential—whether it's a hot crab dip, olive oil and spices, or sweet cream cheese, you can make a statement by serving it in a decorative dip bowl. Our fair trade divided dishes and dipping bowls are crafted entirely by hand by skilled artisans around the world, bringing eye-catching, global artistry to your dinner party while providing a sustainable source of income.

Nothing says elegance like fine ceramics, and SERRV carries only the finest! If bright florals are part of your ensemble, our hand-painted decorative dip bowls and divided dishes from West Bank are a must have. Want to make a bold statement? Our gorgeous, reactive-glazed Lak Lake Divided Dish and Dipping Bowls add instant interest to any table, especially when paired with beautiful handmade textiles. Or, for a more modern approach, our La Cay Vine Divided Dish and Dipping Bowls are an excellent choice. Both of these collections are made in Bat Trang, Vietnam, which is famous for its thousand-year tradition of crafting fine ceramics.

If rustic is your dinner party aesthetic, choose our wooden dip bowls from the Philippines. They're perfect for small snacks like nuts, dried fruits, or candies, or for building charcuterie. Take it from Elisabeth: "I bought 2 sets for appetizer boards and they are perfect." But you're not only getting the perfect snack bowls—by purchasing our Acacia Wood Small Bowls, you're also supporting skilled artisans as they provide for their families and invest in their communities.

Pair a beautiful hand painted dip bowl with flavorful fair trade spices and rich organic olive oil to create the perfect bread dip.

5. Elegant Cheese Boards

Responsive imageNatural Onyx serveware

Have you ever been to a cocktail event without a cheese board? Make your dinner party staple a statement with an elegant cheese board. SERRV carries a variety of platters that are great for serving cheese and sausage, but none quite like the Rough-Edge Onyx Cheese Board. Made from natural onyx stone, its robust construction and one-of-a-kind appearance are perfect for showcasing cheeses, meats, nuts, fruits and more. Artisans in Pakistan seek out the highest quality white onyx to create this hand-carved masterpiece featuring its own unique natural tones and patterns, polishing it to perfection while leaving a rough edge to preserve the raw beauty of the stone. Through their work, they're earning vital income while gaining access to education support for their children.

Want a quick and easy way to chop blocks of cheese into a snackable size? Use our handmade Cheese Slicer! It's crafted from eco-friendly mango wood by fair trade artisans in India, and features an easy to clean steel blade. Use it for hard cheeses like Cheddar, Asiago, Parmesan, Gruyere, and Swiss. You'll never go back to using a knife!

6. Fair Trade Bread Baskets

Responsive imageTerracotta Breadwarmers

Fresh, crusty bread is a must-have at any dinner party. Whether it's being served as an appetizer with organic olive oil and spices or alongside the main course, warm bread always proves to be a favorite around the table. Keep your bread oven hot with a fair trade bread basket and warming stone! Our partners in Bangladesh press natural terracotta clay into handmade molds, firing each stone then coating it with a lime wash for rustic appeal. Paired with a handwoven kaisa grass basket, each handmade breadwarmer is perfect for making sure bread and other baked goods stay warm and fresh. Choose from a variety of popular, nature-inspired designs, including our top-selling Double Vine Breadwarmer.

7. Eco-friendly Appetizer Plates

One of the best ways to make a good first impression while hosting a dinner party is to have a beautifully staged appetizer. SERRV can help with this by giving you a solid base—a gorgeous appetizer plate! Skip the paper and plastic and choose one of several varieties of eco-friendly appetizer plates from around the world, each with its own unique patterns and colors to fit a wide range of dinner party aesthetics.

Sleek and easy to clean, our collection of ceramic appetizer plates is perfect for any dinner party. From our neutral-toned Dhabba Stoneware Collection from Nepal to hand-painted florals from Vietnam and West Bank, find the plates that will take your dinner part to the next level while protecting the planet.

Responsive imageFestive appetizer plates

Hosting for the holidays? Our partners in Vietnam hand paint beautiful designs on our Snowstar and Candy Heart appetizer plates, perfect for Christmas and Valentine's Day.

For an outdoor dinner party, we highly recommend our beautiful Kashmiri Appetizer Plates. These unique and gorgeous hand-painted appetizer plates from India are painted entirely by hand with detailed floral designs in two distinct colorways. They're great for indoor use, too! Artisans in Moradabad, India are able to preserve traditional crafting techniques and traditions while earning vital income for crafting these unique, reusable appetizer plates.

If you like our outdoor, stainless steel Kashmiri plates, you'll LOVE our Paizale Kashmiri Appetizer Plates! Also hand painted, this set of four colorful and eco-friendly appetizer plates is made from a wood waste composite and is perfect for your holiday dinner party.

Want something simple? Our eco-friendly appetizer plates from the Philippines are just what you're looking for! They're hand carved from fast-growing acacia wood, making them an ideal climate-conscious choice.

8. Hand-Painted Serving Sets

When hosting a dinner party, presentation really is everything, so do it right by choosing a hand-painted serving set from SERRV. Our unique fair trade serveware sets are crafted entirely by hand, allowing you to highlight both your dish and dishes.

Responsive imageHand-painted dipping bowls

All of our hand-painted serving sets have a story. Our Palestinian ceramics from the West Bank feature beautiful florals painted by skilled artisans earning a vital income while preserving traditional colors and motifs. Artisans in India are also keeping tradition alive through their unique and colorful hand-painted crafts.

Choose from dipping bowls, appetizer plates, rectangular serving trays and more.

9. Serving Bowls in a Variety of Sizes

To create a well-rounded dinner party, you need a variety of offerings, some of which may not fit well on a plate. That's why you have to have serving bowls in a variety of sizes. Whether it's soups, salads, pastas, or other side dishes, having an appropriately sized bowl helps the dish stand out without getting lost in a bowl that's too large or spilling over a bowl that's too small. That's why SERRV carries several different bowls in many sizes.

Our Lay Cay Vine Pasta Bowls featuring hand-painted, nature-inspired designs are great for, you guessed it, pastas, but also for salads, curries, rice dishes, and even thick, hearty soups. They're ethically made by skilled artisans in Vietnam using traditional materials and techniques.

Responsive imageStone Gray Dhabba Handled Bowl

Several of our serving bowl sets featuring multiple sizes are crafted in Nepal using stoneware ceramic. Choose from the chic neutral Dhabba Bowls, or add a little more interest to the table with our Canyon Edge Slab Bowls and Jannu Ridge Serving Bowl. Either way, you're getting a handmade bowl that will allow you to highlight your culinary masterpieces while supporting fair trade artisans.

Great for small snacks, our Acacia Wood Small Bowls are a great way to serve guests without hassle or in a more intimate setting. These hand-carved bowls are made by artisans in the Philippines gaining access to basic healthcare, education and more through their fair trade handcrafts.

If wood is the perfect look for your dinner party, our unique Kayu Serving Bowl is an excellent choice. Carved from a single piece of fast-growing suar wood, this elegant bowl is great for holding fruit, veggies, bread and more.

With over a dozen different serving bowls, you'll be able to find the perfect fit.

Responsive imageKayu Cake Stand

10. Versatile Cake Stands

Dessert. Your last chance to impress your guests (unless you count after-dinner coffee) with a beautiful and delicious dish. It may be one of the courses where presentation truly counts. After all, no one wants to eat a cake that looks like it was thrown together in 20 minutes by a hyperactive toddler. That's one of the reasons you also have to make sure the dish it's presented on is just as beautiful as the dish itself. Whether it's cupcakes, pie, cake, or a torte, a handmade cake stand is the perfect way to build a solid base for a lasting impression.

Fair trade cake stands are a slice above the rest. High-quality, long-lasting materials are expertly crafted into a beautiful and elegant piece of serveware that you'll be able to use for years. Whether you choose a suar wood cake stand from Indonesia that you adorn with matching ribbon or flowers at the base or an onyx and shesham wood cake stand from Pakistan with swirls of natural color, you'll be showing your dessert at its best while supporting the livelihoods of fair trade artisans around the world.

Preparing for your dinner party

Now that you know what you need, it's time to decide—what do you want? Are gorgeous hand-painted florals your thing, or are you looking for something a little simpler? Why not both?

Mixing and matching fair trade serveware pieces is a way to share your unique style while staying true to your values and supporting multiple groups of global artisans Choose hand-painted Palestinian ceramics to add a few splashes of color and brightness to the rich blues and blacks of our Lak Lake collection. Pair hand-carved wood from the Philippines and Indonesia with natural onyx to really make the natural colors of the ceramic pop. Or, for a fun and eclectic dinner party, don't have the same piece twice! Select different dipping bowls to match each of your guests and help people keep track of their dishes.

Now that you know what you need, you can feel confident about hosting your next dinner party. Choose handmade serving pieces that complement the menu, and you'll be asked to host again and again. Plus, when you purchase fair trade serveware, you can feel good about every aspect of your dinner party—even the dishes!

Want to show off your hosting successes? Send us your photos at marketing@serrv.org. Thank you for choosing fair trade!

Get started with your dinner party today at serrv.org.


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