Gathering around a dining table with a bunch of friends or family is one of life’s great pleasures. In today’s fast-paced jam-packed world, such opportunities to guzzle and gulp with our favourite people can be increasingly rare and should therefore be relished and savoured. When hosting a dinner party it’s worth investing a little extra thought, time and effort to make the occasion one that will shine brightly in the memories of you and your guests.
Here are six suggestions to take your dinner party to the next level.
Adopt a theme
Themes are a fun way to make your dinner party memorable. You could select a cuisine like French or Italian and theme your food, booze and decorations accordingly, or you could really push the boat out by having your guests don costumes or assume characters in a murder mystery.
Lighting is key to creating the atmosphere you want. Use ceiling lights with dimmer switches, candles, lamps and strings of lights to achieve an intimate mood. Coloured light bulbs you can manipulate with apps such as the Philips Hue system are clever technology that can create a more playful or outlandish vibe.
Guests love to know what the evening has in store. A hand-written menu placed on or beside their place settings is a delightful way to get their gastric juices flowing. You could include the evening’s entertainment on the menu, or use a blackboard or sandwich board.
Hire live entertainment
Make your dinner party one to remember by hiring a performer to play music, sing or even recite poetry. CrowdPleaser has an array of epic entertainment to suit every budget and booking couldn’t be simpler. For the cost of a few bottles of wine you could give a local amateur artist a gig – they get experience performing and your dinner party goes from ordinary to extraordinary.
Keep your dinner party simple
You want to be around the table enjoying the fruits of your labours, not spending your entire evening in the kitchen so select dishes you can largely have ready before your guests arrive. Antipasto platters, soup, rice paper rolls and bruschetta are first courses you can dispatch with a minimum of fuss. Salads and tarts behave nicely when it’s warmer and in the cooler months let slow-cooked dishes, baked pastas and pies sit happily in the oven doing the hard work for you until you’re ready to gobble.
Pair food with booze
While it’s customary for guests to bring bottles of plonk, stash these offerings away for later and choreograph the night’s consumption. Consider how the flavours of each dish can be complemented by a matching tipple and plan the order of your courses, beginning at the lighter end of the spectrum.
Start with a blonde ale, Campari spritz or sparkling wine to match your hors d’oeuvres or nibbles, progressing through pale ales and white wines to a crescendo of hoppy IPAs, malty brown ales and gutsy red wines. Round off the proceedings handsomely with a sticky wine or chocolate stout to accompany your cheese platter or dessert.