A Brief History of the Intermezzo — and 11 Favorites! Slideshow

Refreshing, palate-cleansing intermezzi help you savor your meal


Sorbet is perhaps the most common form of intermezzo. Sorbets are easy to make and perfect for parties on hot summer days.

Frozen Grapes

Frozen grapes make an unexpected but beautiful—and kid-friendly—intermezzo. Simply stem, wash, and dry a bunch of grapes, freeze them on a rimmed cookie sheet until they become solid and frosty.


Because the intermezzo is originally Italian, it makes sense to serve an Italian sparkling wine, but any form of light bubbly wine, like Champagne or cava, will work just as well.

Vegetable Crostini

Use whatever vegetables are in season for this simple intermezzo option. Make sure to keep your flavors light so that the crostini cleanses the palate before your main dish.

Melon Paired with Mint

Melon is elegant, simple, and refreshing. Cut it into cubes or use a melon baller to scoop out small portions.

Homemade Fruit Soda

Either buy a pure fruit juice or squeeze the juice of your favorite fruit yourself. Peaches or green apples are clean-tasting and easy to juice. Pair one with seltzer so that the drink is very light (that is, it has more water than fruit juice) but the fruit’s flavor still shines through.


What better summer intermezzo is there than crisp, cool watermelon? Serve it plain or sprinkle it with a bit of sea salt immediately before serving.

Spoonfuls of Chilled Soup

One or two spoonfuls of a light, bright soup — like gazpacho or avocado soup — can be enough to neutralize your palate. But stay away from strong spices!


Granita is a shaved ice that can be made with nearly any fruit juice, tea, or wine. Add a few very finely sliced herbs for another layer of flavor.

Small Cubes of Fruit Gelée

Fruit jellies are a fun way to introduce a burst of intense but fresh flavor to your dinner. They shouldn’t be too sweet, but you can sprinkle them with a bit of sugar for some sparkle.

Sparkling Water with Lemon or Cucumber

Perhaps the simplest intermezzo option of all, a tall glass of sparkling water with lemon is an easy way to enjoy a pause between courses.