Seven tips for turning your dinner party into a fine dining affair which is guaranteed to impress your guests with a minimum of fuss and for a fraction of what it would cost in a gourmet restaurant.
1. The Full Spread
The easiest way to elevate your dinner party is with a pretty table cloth and some attention to detail at the dining table. If you have placemats make sure you put them out as well as all the cutlery that will be needed and a minimum of two glasses: one for water and one for wine. It’s nice to have a vase of flowers placed on the centre of the table at the beginning of the evening but be sure to move it somewhere less intrusive once the food starts being served.
2. First Impressions Matter
Remember to offer your guests a drink the moment they walk in (after taking care of any coats and/or umbrellas of course). Ideally a glass of something bubbly is the best drink to get the evening started but a pretty spritz, cocktail or mocktail will also do the trick. There’s nothing nicer than feeling your host has taken the time to welcome you properly.
3. Whet Their Appetites
Have some finger foods available for people to nibble on as they get comfortable before the meal. There are so many simple ways to make this happen, it can be as easy as putting out one bowl of olives and another of roasted cashews, or making some baguette mini tarts covered in hummus or a pesto.
4. Set the Mood
Candles are not only for romantic dinners and are the perfect accessory for a sophisticated meal at home. If you don’t have candles or candlesticks, then try to make the lighting as soft as possible and turn off any harsh bright lights. Keep in mind though that it shouldn’t be so dark that people can’t see what’s on their plate!
5. Soft Music
This is where you take to your inner music connoisseur out and try one of those Afro Funk playlists you’ve been meaning to play for months, some Jazz, gentle R&B or anything instrumental really that doesn’t have a loud incessant beat. The volume should be low enough to not drown out conversation but high enough to fill up any sudden moments of silence.
6. The Servings
At a minimum make sure you have a starter, a main and a dessert. That said if you want to get creative (and have enough physical plates to go round) make lots of small dishes which will keep people from getting too full too fast and make the dinner last longer. It goes without saying that plastic plates are a complete no-no.
7. Aiding Digestion
Make sure you have a digestive alcohol at hand to serve after the meal has been finished. Your best bets with this are to go for a Brandy, Cognac or something bitter sweet like Jagermeister. Oh and if you happen to have some Limoncello at hand, it’s always a hit for those with a sweet tooth.