Sadly, summer seems to have come to an end, and the colder weather is approaching. You’ve probably already packed the BBQ away, and are looking forward to spending cozy nights in, watching movies, and eating your favorite fall foods. However, just because the longer days are becoming shorter, and Halloween and the festive season aren’t quite here yet; you don’t have to become a recluse in your home and forget about the social side of life.
If braving the chilly air outside just isn’t going to happen when you want to meet up with friends and family; it’s the perfect excuse to throw a dinner party at home. Sharing food with your loved ones on a cold night will help you to ease into the new season happily and healthily. You won’t be sad that summer is over; you’ll be excited for all the new produce and delicious recipes you can cook. The following are some ideas for those who want to welcome fall in style and cook up a storm in their kitchen to feed their favorite people.
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The Theme And Ambience
Whether you fancy going all out and throwing a formal get-together, or you want a relaxed affair that focuses on the food and company; you’ll want to figure out where and how you’re going to serve what you’ve cooked. For something a little more special; use a linen tablecloth and lay the table with matching plates, side plates, and your best cutlery. You can polish the silverware (or whatever cutlery you’re choosing to use), and make sure that there’s a glass for every beverage. If you’re unsure about where to put what regarding your formal dinner table; see Martha Stewart and her advice for instructions.
Make sure the lighting is bright enough to see the food; however, stark, cold lights don’t feel very cozy, so try and stick to a warm glow from lamps and dimmed wall lights. Candles are the perfect addition to any dinner table. Whether you pop several tea lights in between dishes and condiments, or get your candelabra out and fill it with pillar candles; the flicker of them will add a snug touch to the dinner party. The little touches like place names and napkin rings won’t go unnoticed and can add to the theme of the party or tie in with your dining room or kitchen decor.
Make sure that seating is comfortable; you may be sat at the table for quite a while, long after the food has been finished, so add cushions and even throws for later in the evening, to give your guests a warm and cozy feeling. Remember that you’re the host or hostess; no matter how familiar your guests are, you’ll want to give them a special evening, so keep ensuing their drinks are topped up and they have everything they want throughout the night.
The Main Event (Why Everyone Came)
The food you serve will be the reason why everyone showed up; as well as your company of course. Therefore, you’ll want to plan your meal in advance and make sure that you can create each dish successfully on the night. The day of your dinner party is not the moment to be testing out a recipe for the first time, so stick to familiar meals and things that you’ve practiced beforehand.
Make sure you spend the week before gathering all your ingredients together and ensuring you’ve ticked everything off your list regarding what’s in the fridge, cupboards, and ready to be combined for a delicious feast. Save yourself time and energy by ordering quality, fresh meat or seafood online; you can see Citarella for more details, and reduce the number of trips to the grocery store. Order in any special ingredients in advance too; the more pressure you take off yourself on the day, the calmer you’ll be at your party, and you’ll be able to focus more on having the best time.
If you’re doing more than one course; ensure that the food flows well and the menu isn’t too heavy. Starters should never fill up a guest to the point they can’t enjoy the main course or dessert, so keep it light and packed full of flavor. Seafood is the perfect option to start; many dishes can be prepared in advance and served cold, so you won’t be rushing around putting items together on each plate. Salads, sides, bread, and nibbles on the table will give people the option to graze on as much or as little as they want, so fill the table with your favorite culinary choices to give them options and variety.
Your main meal should be the focus of the whole dinner party; whether you have Italian, Indian, or Greek heritage, enjoy a cuisine from a particular part of the world, or your mom’s stew is legendary; the starter and dessert should fit in around the main. Casual dinner parties can benefit from a big dish of food that everyone tucks into an decides on their own portion size; add sides in accompanying bowls and on plates and tell everyone to help themselves. Formal affairs tend to have plates of food that have been prepared in the kitchen and are brought out to the table; things like gravy, jus, and sauces can be added by the guests at the dinner table.
Something sweet to finish a meal off is always a welcome choice; choose a crowd pleaser, containing chocolate or fruit, or even both. If you’ve made a heavy main course; a lighter dessert, like a panna cotta, ice cream, or poached fruit will be a great way to end the meal. However, if there are some big appetites at the table; a pie or an accompanying cheese plate will fill your guests up, and they’ll leave smiling.
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After Dinner Fun
The beauty of a dinner party with loved ones is that you can all stay and chat the night away after the food has gone, or continue to pick at that cheese plate while you put the world to rights. You don’t need to plan any major activities; maybe just think of some interesting topics of conversation, and let the evening flow naturally. A pack of cards can be fun, but gauge the mood and energy of the room before you choose to play any games. Prepare the best food you can and put your efforts into making your guests feel welcome, and you’ll have a great dinner party and welcome fall in style.