Party planning seems to be in my blood. I enjoy the creativity and challenge of creating a beautiful event whether it is for 4 people or 400. This weekend I was privileged to assist with a Mediterranean themed dinner party. Since it was a great success, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite parts of the party and some ideas that may help you with your next party. For those of you who entertain at home, this is my process. If you don’t, I will post some recipes this week, these are some good ones! (Please excuse my blurry low light cell phone photos as I, of course, forgot my camera. At least I didn’t forget anything important!)
When planning a party menu, I generally start with an idea, dish, theme, color, etc as a jumping off point. In this case, we had decided on paella and Greek salad so we went with a Mediterranean theme. I then think about the size of the party and the type of people attending. In this case, it was 10 people, and a fairly sophisticated crowd. This meant I could do some more labor intensive appetizers and be creative with my ingredients. I think it is important to have a variety of colors, tastes and textures within a menu. Even if people love meatballs, pigs in a blanket and chicken fingers, it makes for a very monochromatic spread with everything looking and tasting the same. For an event like this, I wanted some healthy options since I knew we had some diet conscious people in attendance. I like to use recipes I have tried (in some form or fashion) before so I don’t have to worry about learning new techniques. In fact, we tried a few new recipes ahead of time and axed some and kept others.
Mediterranean Party Menu
- Melon Balls with Prosciutto
- Gazpacho Shooters
- Chorizo Stuffed Dates
- Greek Salad
- Homemade Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
- Ginger Cookies
- Spanish Wine
- Citrus Champagne Sangria
Once the menu is decided, I compile all the recipes and evaluate what I already have. Then make my shopping list by both store and department. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes to have a list like this (then you don’t end up in dairy and realize the only thing you forgot is in produce!) I also go through each recipe and estimate how much time it will take and what I can prep ahead of time. I create a timeline for the 3-5 days ahead of the party and plan when to shop and when to prep. Things will always end up slightly different than your plan, but if you have one, it is much easier to stay relaxed! It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just get an idea in your head. Now all you have to do is relax, have fun, and follow your plan!