Plan your menu. “Think about all the other elements of the meal—texture, color, how heavy the food is, even its temperature.” A “fresh, light” meal such as fish should be followed with a hot pie or crumble, while a pasta dish should be followed with a light treat like berries.
Put on your chef’s hat. Some desserts, such as chocolate mousse, require planning but are not difficult to make. If you would rather “wing it,” there are plenty of last-minute options. “Drizzle honey over a slice of ripe pear,” serve with a bit of goat cheese, and—voila!—dessert is served.
Do it up right. Try to do something whimsical,” even if you use your best china when serving dessert. “There’s something gorgeous” about a tray of vintage glasses filled with ice cream. They conjure visions of an old-fashioned soda shop.