We're all ready to bid 2020 adieu and look forward to brighter days ahead. New Year's looks quite different this year – no crowds, no big parties and no kissing strangers at midnight. Whether you're getting dressed up for a Zoom party or counting down to midnight in pajamas, it'll feel a little more festive if you're well-equipped with indulgent food and drink to get you through the evening.
The Hottest Virtual Party
Truffle Shuffle is hosting a virtual, speakeasy-inspired New Year’s Eve celebration with truffles and classic Prohibition-era cocktails. Munch on canapés, caviar, cheese and charcuterie before enjoying a Vaudeville Show and 1920s club-style interactive breakout rooms. Dress up in your sexiest flapper outfit or stay comfy in your fanciest sweatpants – there's no judgment here. A celebration box containing a personal balloon drop kit with streamers and noise makers will be delivered to your doorstep along with white sturgeon caviar, brown butter truffle honey, Humboldt Fog goat cheese and Kendall Farms crème fraîche. Themed breakout rooms will offer guests a chance to have a tarot reading or learn to dance the Charleston, while performances throughout the night include tap dancers, cabaret and other specialty acts.
Whatever your plans may be, a bottle of champagne is in order. Beau Joie is my favorite new champagne house that specializes in zero dosage champagne. Zero dosage means there's no added sugar, allowing the purity and quality of the fruit to shine through. Added sugars can mask imperfections, much like makeup, so a great zero dosgae champagne is a natural beauty. Other exquisite zero dosage champagnes include Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Nature and Louis Roederer Brut Nature Phillipe Starck Design 2009, all available for same-day delivery via Drizly.
Beau Joie bottles are truly objets d'art, designed with an armored shell made from second generation scrap copper. It's both functional and fashionable, since the copper helps cool the champagne quicker – ideal for impromptu toasts – and keeps it colder for longer without an ice bucket.
If you prefer your champagne in chocolate, try Vosges' enchanted champagne truffles flavored with Krug Grande Cuvée in a dark chocolate ganache and dusted with cocoa powder. Or for a more spiritual chocolate experience, choose one of Vosges' new ritual collection chocolates, like the ritual collection for new beginnings, which seems especially apropos for 2020. These collections each include a silk journal, healing crystals and an intention card to help guide your chocolate meditation.
Vesta Chocolate makes small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate along with beautiful bonbons and most of their treats also happen to be vegan. All good dark chocolate should be vegan – made with just cacao and sugar. Much of their cacao is sourced directly from farmers in the Dominican Republic, where chocolatier Roger Rodrigeuz is from. Their vegan matcha oat bar is a sleeper hit too and if you have a chance to visit their Montclair, New Jersey cafe, you'll have to try their mocha or an ice cream sundae generously drizzled with freshly tempered chocolate sauce over cacao nib brownies.
If you're cooking at home, the right condiments can elevate a tried and true recipe. Chef Stephanie Izard's new line of This Little Goat sauces are inspired by her international travels, taking you from Tokyo to the Yucatan in a bottle. These versatile sauces are great for marinades, grilling, stir-frys and roasting vegetables. A separate line of spices is inspired by Belize, Morocco, Cuba and India for even more kitchen fun. Try sprinkling your spice of choice on candied nuts or popcorn for a simple but effective gourmet snack.
If you like spicy, Chef Tony Nguyen's Drip Sauce – a blend of Italian and Southeast Asian chilies – is a winner with just the right balance of umami and heat. Swap this in for sriracha to up the ante in your favorite Asian dishes, or try it on pizza, pasta or soft-scrambled eggs. I even love a dollop atop guacamole.
Charcuterie & Cheese
If you don't feel like cooking, a bountiful charcuterie and cheese board is just as impressive and perfect for snacking on all night. Start with zesty Mad Crisps, vegan puffed quinoa crackers with flavors like za'atar pistachio, chive almond and porcini herb. Smoking Goose in Indianapolis is one of the best craft salumerias in the country, now shipping nationwide. Their Rust Belt Saucisson, Gin & Juice Salame and Finocchiona would all be welcome additions to any charcuterie selection, nicely paired with pickles, mustard and jam.
For an unexpected healthy twist, try South African biltong, beef jerky's better tasting and more tender cousin. While jerky is cooked and heated for hours, biltong is air-dried for two to three weeks, spiced with simple ingredients like vinegar, pepper and coriander, then thinly sliced with no added sugar. In South Africa, game meats like ostrich, kudu and springbok can all be used to make biltong, but at Stryve they stick with beef. Choose from slices, sticks and slabs in an array of flavors like Cajun, spicy peri peri, zesty garlic and new Southwestern-inspired favorite – hatch green chile.
Cheese pairs perfectly with champagne, and James Beard award-winning cheese author Laura Werlin recommends Schroeder Käse Triple Crème Brie, Hoard’s Dairyman St. Saviour and BelGioioso creamy gorgonzola. “The super rich butter flavors, the creamy, silken textures, and the perfect amount of salt in these soft-ripened Wisconsin cheeses call out for the lean acidity and scrubbing bubbles offered by champagne,” she says. “The bubbles mellow the salt and slight funk found in many blue cheeses, making for a combination that is particularly special and even unexpected in the depths of winter.”