Some of the best dinners I've had in recent months have come in the form of small plates from St. Louis-area eateries specializing in them.

I enjoy how the sharing and variety of flavors lend to a more festive, communal dining experience. So, when I came across Pier 1 Import's Tasting Party Starter Set, I instantly began planning my own tasting party inspired by the trend.

I plan to use the starter set for a dessert tasting at a baby shower I'm throwing, but this perfect set of white stoneware can be used in any number of ways. The set comes with four small bowls, two large bowls, four shot glasses, 10 spoons and one tray. Pier 1 also sells the items in the set and additional mini dishes ala carte, so you can pick up a tasting party spoon set, mini dessert bowls and a number of other tasting items to accommodate a party of any size.

After the baby shower, I'm planning on whipping up some of the tiki-inspired starters from" target="_blank">June FEAST's Tiki Talk feature for a special tasting party. Pier 1 also offers their own recipes and tasting party guide that are certainly worth checking out.

Tasting Party Starter Set, $24.95; Pier1, multiple locations,