Tips and Tricks for Hosting a Party at Home
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Published by TOP4 Team
Careful preparation is the key for hosting a party in your home. The better prepared you are as a host, the more successful the party will be – and the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy it. Here are some reminders that you should take note of.
BEFORE THE PARTY
- For a small circle of friends, an invitation by phone or email is fine. For more formal events, a written invitation is customary. Send them out in plenty of time and include a final date for replying.
- Make a list of what you’ll need well in advance, such as buffet tables or additional glasses or cutlery. Arrange to hire glasses or folding chairs and tables, which can be enhanced with tablecloths and chair coverings. Only buy them if you’re likely to need them again, you can pick them up at a reasonable price and have somewhere to store them afterwards.
- Once you have a shopping list, pick up drinks and non-perishable foods 1-2 weeks before the party and perishables 1-3 days beforehand.
- Make place cards and table decorations before the party, as long as you’re not using fresh flowers.
- When preparing a menu, take into account the season, and the number and types of course you’ll be serving. The more courses you plan, the smaller the portions and the lighter they should be.
- Make small, easy-to-hold appetisers for a cocktail party, as people usually have only one hand free.
- For parties of six people or more, avoid pan-frying or other dishes that require last-minute preparation; otherwise, you’ll be chained to the kitchen.
- Avoid making dishes for the first time during the party. This is especially true for people with less cooking experience.
- Serve food that can be prepared a day or two in advances. Soups, many desserts and salad dressing can be kept in the refrigerator until your guests arrive.
THE DAY OF THE PARTY
- Pace yourself – a special checklist will help.
- Set and decorate the table early – even the night before. You never know what hurdles you may encounter on the day.
- Prepare bowls and plates in the kitchen, and keep serving utensils near the table.
- Make sure the drinks, glasses and cold snacks are on the tables before guests arrive for a cocktail party.
- Ensure white wine is well chilled, and open red wines at least 2 hours before the meal so that their flavours can develop.
- Take cheese for a cheese board out of the refrigerator 1-2 hours before serving it to enhance the flavours and textures. Place a few sugar cubes on the board – they can prevent cheese from sweating and absorb surplus moisture – but don’t forget to remove them before serving.
- Light candles shortly before guests arrive and check one last time if everything’s ready.
Delight guests and stimulate their appetites with creative garnishes made from a variety of fruits and vegetables, eggs and cheese.
- Make tomato baskets: cut two long slices across the top of a tomato so that a small handle remains across the centre. Remove the core and cut the base flat to make a solid stand. Stuff the tomatoes with egg, vegetables, rice and/or cheese mixtures.
- Peel fine strips from raw, peeled carrots and put them in a bowl of ice water. Leave in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Remove, drain the carrots curls and pat dry with a paper towel or clean cloth.
- Make four evenly spaced vertical cuts in the top of a cleaned and trimmed radish, then put it into cold water (it will open up like a rose).
WHEN THE GUESTS ARRIVE
- Greet the first guests with a pre-dinner drink and a few canapés. Take the time to chat until everyone has arrived, which helps to break the ice, and introduce guests to one another.
- Before serving dinner, warm the plates in the oven for 5 minutes to prevent the food from cooling off too quickly once it is on the tables. But be careful not to overheat the plates – guests should be able to hold them comfortably.
- Cover warmed-up bread with a large, clean table napkin to keep the heat in.
- Use an attractive wine bottle pouring spout to prevent drips that could stain your tablecloth.
- Leave the glass on the table and hold the bottle or decanter above the rim of the glass without touching it when pouring drinks.
- Fill glasses only a third to a half full so that the full aroma of a good wine can be appreciated.