Enjoy sampling a variety of wines? Like trying an array of different foods? Hosting a wine-around-the-world party could be the answer.
I try to host two such parties every year: one in the Summer and one in the Winter. The concept is simple: 1) Put together a small group of friends who enjoy wine and food 2) Send an invitation (email is appropriate) where you ask each person, or couple, to select a favorite country 3) Request that each person, or couple, bring a dish and a bottle of wine from that country!
This concept is great fun for all and allows each guest to feel like he/she has contributed to the party and in the sharing of the costs. It’s essential that you let the guests know that you’ll be preparing the entree so that everyone can bring appetizers, sides or desserts. It is after all your party, so the main dish should come from you. Another idea is to host an hors-d’oeuvres party where all the dishes are served tapas-style.
Before the guests arrive, arrange small tent-cards at various areas around the dining space with country-appropriate placemats or tablecloths, creating ‘dining stations’ . As guests arrive, have them write the name of the dish and selected country on their designated place card along with main ingredients (important for folks with allergies). I like to display each country in a separate area, sometimes featuring a small flag from that country so it’s easy for guests to recognize what ‘country’ they’re sampling from when they visit a specific station.
I’ve invested in decent party glasses so that each country offers a clean glass, but an inexpensive way to do this is to visit a dollar store where you can purchase glasses economically. I enjoy featuring different kinds of glasses based on the country: elegant stemmed glass for France, short water glass for Italy, etc…I place these party glasses in a plastic bin that I can store in the attic or garage until the next party.
Hosting a Summer and a Winter wine-around-the-world party commits me to have friends over at least twice a year in this fun atmosphere and to showcase both lighter fares in the Summer and heartier ones in the Winter.
I urge you to try a wine-around-the-world party, it’s great fun and offers an interactive way for guests to relate to each other. Just do it!