Quick Recipes and Easy

The Dinner Party Season

With the advent of fall and winter, many of us are thinking about the return of the Dinner Party season after a summer of entertaining al fresco. Whether your style is traditional, themed or contemporary; your guest’s young or ancient; a dramatic table setting, a well plotted menu and a quick freshening of your home will ensure that your dinner party will be a hit.

Just like the backdrop of a well-staged play; the components of a well-set table, detailed menu and an edited Dining room will make the mood for a memorable soiree. Carefully considered details will reinforce your desired feeling or theme, especially when everything is in its proper place, allowing everyone to be drawn into your fête.

First, consider your audience (children need extra attention), is your Party for schmoozing, celebrating, showing off, family, friends, a mixer, who are you serving? Choose your props for the evening and don’t be worried of going for the dramatic. Go to your local florist and opt for the unexpected! Try using 2 large floor vases with black 6’ curly willow intermixed with bunches of forced Forsythia. Or better still, perhaps a row of 3 or 5 square vases (4x4x4) with polished river rock in the bottom and one large stunning Agapanthus set on an angle coming out from each vase with their head resting just past the vase lip; can you reckon of a more modern and simply stunning presentation for a sexy, sophisticated Dinner Party? Whatever you select for your centerpiece make sure it is unusual, makes a bold statement and expresses your personality. Don’t forget to try napkin folds that are in keeping with your style and of course edit out your Dining room of unwanted clutter to make the traffic flow more harmonious. Don’t forget to freshen up your Entrance hall/area with some flowers and hurricanes filled with candles, first impressions are often the most prominent. Then choose upon your theme if you have one or need one, and then plot out every detail of your menu.

Remember when plotting a dinner party at your home, limit the number of your guests to six to ten people. This will maintain the scale to a manageable level as well as insure that you will be able to interact with each guest on a personal level while also keeping your sanity. Some of my other recommendations include:

• Examine your dining room table. How many guests can it take comfortably? Don’t forget that each guest should have 24″ for each place setting.

• Until you’re comfortable with throwing a dinner party, keep your menu simple. If I’m not going to have help serving or catering, I try to plot dishes for which the majority of work can be done in advance.

• When determining your menu, try to select dishes that complement one another. Avoid the “globetrotting” trend, in which every course is another country and palette. I recommend first selecting your main dish, and then plot the side dishes around that main course.

• If you’re serving dinner as a buffet, make sure to make 2 extra parts so that no one is stigmatized by taking the “Last Part”.

• Remember the power of colour. Never use the same colour for each course. Spice them up with some colourful garnishes, sauces or accessories. If your doing an Asian theme, try using Hot Red lacquer chop sticks.

• Let your meal take its course. It’s simple to fall into a rushed orderly progression. Delight in your friends, your hard work and your delightful meal. Take time to savor and sip.

• Let your creative energy flow with your decorating. Never underestimate the power of fresh flowers, candles and personalized name cards to show your guests how special they are to you. While you can’t have enough candles lit, avoid scented candles in the Dining room as they will compete with the flavours and scent of your meal.

Most of all though, delight in the pleasure of your friends company, your achievement and the luxury of a well plotted Dinner Party. A truly successful Dinner Party is an evening full of laughter, tasty foods and sparkling conversation in which you are all the stars.

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