This post is sponsored by Pinnacle® Vodka.
Thanks to Pinnacle® Vodka, I’m able to host an authentic French-themed party with serving pieces from France, traditional French fig spread and French cheeses, slices of baguette, and, of course, French vodka. What’s great about vodka is that it’s the perfect ingredient for many great cocktails! Pinnacle® Original Vodka is an exquisite, smooth, award-winning French vodka that is crafted using the highest quality French ingredients, making it my favorite go-to vodka for the best signature cocktail. Who doesn’t love to sip on the perfect cocktail while chatting with friends over good food? I’ve included a few of my favorite tips for an at-home gathering that has a certain je ne sais quoi!
Tips for Hosting A French-Themed Party
TIP 1: Limit what’s offered at the bar. Unless I’m enjoying the casual company of one or two people, I limit the kind and amount of alcohol served. This helps me to manage the party better especially if I’m serving more than one course to several guests. When planning the party, I pick a signature cocktail du jour and have it ready to serve. Two of my favorites are pomegranate martinis and traditional cosmos made with Pinnacle® Original Vodka. Most guests will go for the cocktail du jour but some will drink vodka on the rocks. The cocktail is often the start of a great conversation piece. Keep fresh pitchers of water and ice out for your guests and keep the pitchers full.
TIP 2: Use fresh herbs for flavor and decoration. I grow my own herbs, and I love to cook with them. While I grow a variety of herbs, parsley, oregano, basil, tarragon, sage, and chives are some of my favorites. Select entrees and sides that showcase fresh herbs. Your guests will appreciate the fresh flavor. Make small bouquets of aromatic herbs for decoration. Fennell, chervil, thyme, and dill are both flavorful and decorative.
TIP 3: It’s not a dinner party without a variety of cheeses, crackers, and slices of bread. Serve soft and hard cheeses like goat cheese, camembert, brie, Comté, and blue cheese. Sometimes I add sharp provolone or a smoked cheese to the cheese tray. These cheeses can be strong and salty, so make sure you serve soft fruit like grapes, pears, apples, and fig spread along with small rounds of baguette or crackers.
TIP 4: Don’t forget the olives. I grew up eating olives, and I can’t imagine a dinner party without them. I usually put out small bowls of black pitted olives, oil-cured olives, green olives stuffed with garlic or blue cheese, and olives marinated in oil and herbs. Olives are an ancient food. They go with just about anything.
TIP 5: Cook simple. Don’t try your hand at a new recipe or a complicated dish when hosting a party. It could end as a disaster. You might find yourself slaving in the kitchen instead of enjoining the company of your guests. Pick simple yet tasty dishes and use fresh ingredients. I grow a small number of tomatoes, peppers, pineapples, and eggplant in my garden along with herbs. I use these vegetables for snacking and salads. Dress up simple vegetable dishes by adding toasted nuts, fresh herbs, a bit of garlic, or a thimble or two of wine. Use a good extra virgin olive oil for cooking and for salad dressings. Nothing else will do.
TIP 6: Serve dessert. I usually make at least two dishes. One is always made with dark chocolate like dark chocolate pie or dark chocolate mousse. While it’s hard for some of us to believe it, one or two of your guests will not be fans of chocolate dessert. My mother is one of them. I always make a fresh fruit dessert like a simple cobbler, baked pears or apples, a fruit salad, or turnovers whenever she comes over. Serve a couple of flavored liqueurs and coffee with dessert.
I hope these tips inspire you to try your hand at French-entertaining. Visit Pinnaclevodka.com to see where you can buy Pinnacle® Original Vodka near you.
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