It’s easy to get a bit stressed once the RSVPs are in and the knowledge sets in that people are coming to your house to have a good time and enjoy good food. We understand, so that’s why we called in an expert for some fuss-free tips. Chef Patrick Long of The Green Room in Greenville, South Carolina, knows that it can be easy to “overthink” entertaining, so he’s here to help with these five pointers:
- Greet your guests with a drink / Holidays can be a very stressful time for many – there’s nothing better than entering a party and being immediately greeted by a beverage. Try a homemade sangria using seasonal fruits such as apples, cherries or dates. Don’t stress too much over the wine choice for the punch base – an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc or a Spanish Red are great in a pinch.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a great cheese plate / People love learning something, so take the time to let people know what they are eating. I love using chalk boards to let people know what sort of cheese they are eating and a recommended wine pairing (assuming you’ve opened up a few bottles). Toothpick flags work great as well.
- Try doing a different theme in each room / Make one room the “Traditional” foods room, make another the “Creative” and another for kids. The flow will be much easier to manage if you have a lot of people and each room will be like discovering a new treasure of foods.
- Go with smaller bite-size portions rather than family style/serve yourself / I love the idea of pre-portioning mac and cheese into soufflé dishes, serving peas in shooter glasses, and pre-plating tomato and mozzarella appetizers on white porcelain Asian inspired spoons (chef trick!). Grab-and-go bite size dishes work really well for a festive atmosphere when you don’t want to have a formal sit-down meal. Remember, even comfort food can be upscale. It’s all about the presentation.
- Create an inviting atmosphere / Make sure you have enough seating for everyone. You want an environment where people are comfortable and want to stay a while. It may be that everyone gathers around the island in the kitchen and doesn’t wind up sitting down, but you want to have seating available. And when in doubt, add white Christmas lights. They’re simple yet that little bit of twinkle adds an instant element of glamour to any party.
Party on, fuss free.