Garnish ideas for dressing your dinners and drinks

In our January 2000 issue, we celebrated the arrival of the new millennium with a delectable display of garnish ideas that verged on art. As we approach 2022, these are still the perfect way to top off the season

carved mini pineapple garnishes
Photography:Pelle Bergström. Photographer's assistant: Lisa Odlund. Entertaining Director: Melina Keays. Fruit and vegetable carver: Pornpin Suwanta. Special thanks to Florian O Yildirim at The Wok Wok group of restaurants. As originally featured in the January 2000 issue of Wallpaper*.
(Image credit: Pelle Bergström)

You’ve just made the most phenomenal dinner for some pretty phenomenal guests. All it needs is some garnish ideas for the final flourish – a sprig of parsley or a few mint leaves, right? Wrong. 

You want to make your diners gasp with amazement, you want your table to look like a fin de siècle banquet, you want sumptuous creativity, and extravagance is key. Decorate your platter with a piece of ephemeral art. 

These stunning carvings made out of foodstuff will only last for one meal, and take a talented sculptor to create. Dish up pure elegance by whittling away the hours at a large root vegetable, or do what we always do – hire a consummate professional to create a work of genius that wouldn’t have looked out of place on an emperor’s dinner table.

Sculptural garnish ideas

Play squash 

butternut squash with carved leaves as garnish ideas

(Image credit: Pelle Bergström)

Not exactly a garnish but a lot of fun, place this carved squash in the centre of your holiday table for a bizarre and beguiling centrepiece.

Piña envy

carved mini pineapple garnishes

(Image credit: Pelle Bergström)

If these pineapple garnishes look too big for your cocktail, maybe your cocktail isn’t the right size.

Flesh and bud

carved watermelon flower garnish ideas

(Image credit: Pelle Bergström)

Sculpt your watermelon into a floral tribute that pips the competition. 

Beets me

flower beet garnishes

(Image credit: Pelle Bergström)

Harness some flower power and catapult yourself into higher circles. 

Fix your leek

carved spring onion garnish for bloody mary

(Image credit: Pelle Bergström)

Turn your spring onion into a celebratory tassel that's the perfect companion for your Bloody Mary.

Twisting your melons

melon garnish carved in rose

(Image credit: Pelle Bergström)

Rose to the occasion with a game old Galia.

Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.

With contributions from