I visited Hampton Court the other day, and guides in the kitchens were preparing food that might have been served up to Henry VIII and his guests, including some dainty sweetmeats. There is a building known as the Banqueting House at the palace, and the staff said that the sweets and desserts would have been eaten in that hall, separate from the main building. The idea was that the goodies would have been laid out on tables before the guests arrived, so there was no need for servants to be present, allowing guests to relax and let their hair down.
The word banquet comes from the French. It is a diminutive of banc, bench, corresponding to the Italian banchetto, a diminutive of banco, table. So a banquet was so-called because the food was laid out on tables. In the 16th century, as well as meaning a sumptuous feast, as nowadays, a banquet often related to the sweet course alone. The relevant OED definition is "A course of sweetmeats, fruit, and wine, served either as a separate entertainment, or as a continuation of the principal meal, but in the latter case usually in a different room; a dessert".