This week has been all about our holiday party. There was:
- The party planning,
- The unexpected game,
- The fantastic menu idea from Tasha DeSerio published in Fine Cooking magazine,
- My reviews of three of DeSerio’s recipes (see my reviews of: Popcorn with Sweet Butter and Sea Salt, Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Marcona Almonds, Apple, Fennel and Cheddar Cheese Straws),
- Three of my own recipes inspired by DeSerio’s menu (White Chocolate Bark with Blueberries, Pine Nuts and a Zest of Lemon, Salted Pineapple Pecan Angel Slice, Rosemary-Orange-Lemon-Curd Slice).
Have I convinced you that this elegant menu would be perfect for your New Year’s Eve party? If not, today I’ll fill you in on the extra little items that rounded out the menu and had our friends ooo-ing and ahhh-ing while begging for the recipes.
The Sparkling Wines We Served, The Brilliant Idea of a Friend, Groovy Strawberries
The sparkling wines we served:
You can find the sparkling wine recommendations made by Tasha DeSerio for her Sweets and Sparklers menu near the bottom of this linked page.
We decided to make use of our local wine store, Roget’s Fine Wine and Beer, and chose the following four from their sparkling wine selection:
These bottles are great values, each coming in under $20, (the Cava’s under $10, the Riondo and the Prosecco are under $15).
Figuring out how many bottles to buy was tricky.We were expecting around 28 friends at our party. Knowing that some of our guests don’t drink alcohol and that some would be driving, we settled on about half a bottle per person and purchased four bottles of each kind listed above, as well as two bottles of sparkling apple cider, two of sparkling white grape juice and 6 litres of sparkling water.
In the invitation we asked that guests not bring any food, but instead, if they really wanted to bring something, they could consider a bottle of “inexpensive prosecco, cava or sparkling apple juice to contribute to our sparkling bar.” It all worked out and there were more than enough bubbles to go around. In fact, there were a couple of bottles left over which we will put to good use as the ball drops tomorrow night!
The brilliant idea of a friend:
Instead of a bottle of bubbly, my Russian friend M brought a bottle of Cracovia Blackcurrant Syrup. This served two purple purposes:
- First, a few drops into a champagne flute topped off with bubbly results in a Kir Pétillant.
- Second, a few drops into a champagne flute topped with sparkling water results in a real treat for those who don’t drink alcohol.
Shortly after M’s arrival, all of our friends were carrying around tinted beverages. Such fun!
Note that you could use Ribena Syrup (a British syrup available in the ethnic food section of some grocery stores) or any fruit syrup instead (or even a splash of juice, as I did with the pomegranate juice here). You could make the Kir’s classic and use crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) but then only people who drink alcohol can give it a try.
I have to reference Pretty Woman again (strange since I rarely give the movie a thought but referenced it on my blog the other day here). It is unavoidable since thinking of sparkling wine makes me think of this scene from Pretty Woman.
There just HAD TO BE strawberries at our sparkling-wine-themed party. I considered dipping them in chocolate or doing something else to dress them up. But then I realized that if Vivian thought they were groovy as is, so would my guests.
One gal got herself some fizz and immediately plunked a strawberry into her glass. I did the same. Hours later, after my berry had been thoroughly soaked in various kinds of bubbles, I fished my drunken strawberry out and bit in. Groovy it definitely was!