Throwing a party might be one of my favorite things to do. I love planning the menu, creating a playlist and of course, having my home absolutley spotless! I recently had a launch party for my blog, it was a small, low-key event mostly for friends and neighbors. I wanted to introduce them to the blog in a more personal way so hosting a Sunday afternoon lunch affair was just the way to do it!
Sweden, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, France and Spain were some of the countries represented at the party. I wanted to give my guests flavors from around Europe and take them on a tour via their palattes, as the key to getting to know any country is by tasting their food and speaking their language. From garlic and butter shrimp to lobster pasta with egglplant a tour of Europe through food is my favorite kind of tour!
The key is keeping the menu simple. The more dishes that are easier and quicker to prepare will save lots of time in the kitchen! A Caprese salad takes few ingredients and minutes to prepare but is a definite crowd-pleaser! Another easy dish is avocado on toast topped with thinly sliced radishes. The radish adds a beautiful pop of color and a nice crunch to the creamy spread.
A cheese platter is a must and was a delicious way for me to represent a few countries on one plate. The general ‘rule’ is to have an aged cheese like cheddar or gouda, a soft cheese such as Camembert, a firm cheese like Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano and a Blue cheese like Stilton or Gorgonzola. You can also base your selection on the type of milk used and vary them by cow, sheep and goat. Of course it is always best to serve at least one familiar cheese. For my platter, I used Irish Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, Honey-Goat Cheese and French Brie. I also had some Goat’s Milk Brie so I added that option as well. I paired those with ramekins of fig jam, ligonberry sauce and apricot jelly for spreading on crackers. A few walnuts, grapes or sliced apples are always a welcome addition, as are sliced meats if you have some carnivores in the group!
The playlist for this party was my favorite to make as I tried to choose songs that represented the dishes I was serving and the countries I chose to represent. It varied from slow crooning French to Spanish party music you can find in Ibiza that was timed to play when I knew the party would be at it’s peak and the fiesta spirit would really be going strong. You can check it out on Spotify and use it for your own European soiree!
As for decoration, I kept it minimal. I bought fresh flowers and used them as centerpieces for my kitchen island and dining table. I also displayed a vase in the guest bathroom and had a few candles lit here and there. I really just let the food do the decorating this time.
Guests brought wine to share and one creative friend made a delicious vodka, grapefruit and mint cocktail that everyone loved! Truly though, all you need for a great party is great friends which I am fortunate to have in spades. A party with great company is going to be fabulous no matter what!
So if you want to throw a ‘Wanderfully European’ inspired party, I encourage you to do so! Some delicious cheese, great wine, a few tapas and a playlist that’s on point- and you’re set! Have fun with it and tag @wanderfullifestyle on Twitter or Instagram to show off your fab party planning skills! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Photos by the very talented, @iamchrismullins.