Dinner Party Planning For This Party Season

Luke Fitzpatrick

A dinner party always requires lots of planning, but winter has an exciting twist. Where once you choose savory, light meals to enjoy in the warmth of the sun, winter allows you to make more decadent dishes. Goodbye citrus salad, hello ravioli casserole. It's the cozy comfort food we crave all year, and a winter dinner party is a perfect time to take advantage of it.

It doesn't matter when you hold your dinner party; it should be an enjoyable experience for you and your guests. This means some tweaks to the typical menu to make it winter-friendly. So, let's examine how you can expertly execute your winning winter dinner party this season.

The mood

Bring warmth to your winter dinner party by setting the scene with candles, blankets, and dim lighting. Even better if you have a fireplace or a fire pit to arrange an outdoor meal alongside some decorative art. Winter is a unique dinner party opportunity. In summer, everyone wants to move around and mingle.

In winter, people are content to relax in a small group, play games, chitchat, and enjoy each other's company. Maximize that when you set the mood for your evening. To get ahead of the game, set your table the night before. You don't need to worry about setting your table and lighting candles before your guests are due. You want to make life as easy as possible for yourself.

The drinks

Undoubtedly, a great party host would want dinner guests to feel at home immediately. It’s double the effort for a winter dinner party. There's always a more casual, laid-back vibe to winter dinner parties, and you can set the tone by starting your evening right with a perfect drink.

It's up to you whether you opt for a warmed beverage, but whether it's warmed temperature-wise or not, it should provide them with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Think mulled wine, hot buttered rum, or Irish coffees on the hot beverage front.

Consider a spiced rum base if you want to opt for cold drinks or offer both. There is also a range of chilled, warming cocktails like sherry sours, spiced sidecars, or espresso martinis. There are plenty of great options to choose from that will surely please all your guests.

The menu

Your menu is going to be different from the typical dinner party. You might not get away with soup in the summer, but a thick French onion soup with a layer of cheesy, crusty bread floating on top of it is a great way to start your winter dinner party menu. Winter dinner parties are more challenging because your starters and entree should be warm, which requires more work. Soup is easy to make in advance and warm when it's time to serve.

Your slow cooker can make life easier for you on the entree front. You can leave a large cut of meat cooking in its juices with various vegetables all day. Once it's ready, all you need to do is slice and serve, along with your different sides. This allows you to create a delicious hearty meal without spending all your time in the kitchen.

If you want to go in a different direction, why not make your pizzas and experiment with your toppings? Everyone can chip in to make their own if your dinner party is a close friend group. Everyone loves pizza, and allowing everyone to get involved ensures people get the toppings they enjoy.

Finish on dessert

While you don't have to choose a warm dessert, your guests will appreciate finishing the menu with a comforting sweet. Crumbles are always a popular choice, choose seasonal fruit and create something truly spectacular. The benefit of opting for a crumble is that you can leave it in the oven while you enjoy your entree, dish it up when ready, and top it with warmed custard at the table.

Crumbles aren't your only option. You can always choose a warm apple pie, a sticky toffee pudding, cupcakes, or even a hot chocolate fudge cake. Of course, you can always opt for the classic bread and butter pudding which is always a crowd-pleaser.

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Academic Speaker | Freelance Journalist | I have contributed to a variety of publications such as Forbes, Tech In Asia, and The Next Web. I cover a variety of topics ranging from fintech, big data, AI, blockchain, to lifestyle and breaking news stories.

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