good reason

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Salads and Dressings, Grains and Pasta, Dinner Party, Sources, Setting the Stage, Wine Line, Posted on February 8, 2015 by Sandy Bergsten

One of the most fun aspects of entertaining can sometimes be one of the most challenging- the reason to throw a party. Some are obvious such as birthdays, showers, and graduations. But where can you draw inspiration when an event seems elusive?

I found myself with just this challenge. My husband and I wanted to have a certain group over for dinner. And while it would have been perfectly fine to leave it at “just dinner”, I wanted a little oomph to jazz up the winter blues.

As I was planning the menu my mind drifted to what wines to serve. This group was pretty wine savvy and the thought of making proper pairings was making me a little… whiny. Then a light bulb went off.

As often happens each of the guests had asked what they could bring. So I texted them all to see if they’d be up for a little wine tasting and if each would bring their favorite red to go with my Bolognese and a salad and cheese course. They all sent back a resounding yes!

With a party like this the table really matters. Four couples means four wines to taste, which means four wine glasses at each place.

Luckily I have ample glasses that I keep stored in quilted stemware cases. The key is always putting your glassware away impeccably clean and spot free so you can simply place it on your table the next time around.

I’m fortunate to also have several silver wine coasters so each bottle will have a proper home on the table.

With dinners of six or more I almost always make place cards. Guests always feel special when they’ve been seated with care.

As for the meal everything’s been made well in advance. One of the best things about Bolognese is that it really should be made a day or two ahead of time. To serve just reheat and toss with hot pasta.

Serving a salad and cheese course is a wonderful way to enjoy the last of the wine and for still hungry guests to fill up. Pick an array of goat, blue, hard and triple crème.

Serve up with a big salad of mixed greens and a simple emulsified dressing.

Along with freshly baked baguettes. We are so lucky to have Boosalis Bakery in Dayton. Their bread truly transports you to France.

Here’s our wine line up. Two California cabs and two super Tuscans. We had much to toast that evening, top of the list first-rate friends with a passion for fine wine.

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