How to entertain in Winter

When the weather is cold it’s natural to want to ‘hibernate’ and stay indoors. But that is no excuse to stop socialising and entertaining. It just means trading the poolside braais for cosy dinners next to the fire place. Playing host in winter means you don’t have to venture out, and it is fun creating a winter wonderland for your guests in your own home. Here are some ideas:

Party décor:

With July upon us, a Christmas in July party, is the perfect excuse to entertain. When it comes to party decor, this winter Bold is Beautiful, and amongst the biggest colour trends this season are reds and golds, and purple and plums. These colours are warm and inviting, and form the perfect base for a Christmas table.

Add silver, crystal and candles to reflect colour and light on the table. Floating candles, lots of them, are a big hit this season, as they create ambience and atmosphere.

Beautiful flowers that are in season now include carnations, arum lilies, celosias, lisianthus, Memory Lane roses, Blue Ocean roses, fynbos and purple Dendrobium orchids. Cluster carnations together to create a textured detail, with mixed purple, red and pink flowers in the rest of your display.

Another great element for table décor this winter, is ribbon. Wrap a ribbon around a glass vase or a neutral colour napkin for a finishing festive touch.

Succulents are making a big comeback, as an alternative to flowers. They are so versatile and can be ‘dressed up or down’. Add long cinnamon sticks, artichokes and root ginger to the floral display, to create a simple but striking effect.

Once the mood has been created with the decor, it is important to carry through the festive theme with the food and beverages.

Party menu:

On arrival, present your guests with a glass of creamy eggnog garnished with a sprinkling of cinnamon. To keep it social, instead of a plated starter, send around a few warm canapés – such as camembert cheese and with spiced cranberries served on a savoury scone or biscuit, and/ or cauliflower soup with crumbled gorgonzola and a hint of truffle oil.

For the seated main, treat guests to a traditional Christmas meal consisting of sliced turkey breast served with sticky roasted carrots, root vegetables and duck-fat roasted potatoes. As meat alternatives, succulent duck or a marinated rack of lamb are both firm favourites.

Bread and butter pudding served with thick whipped cream is a rich, warm dessert sure to satisfy any sweet craving. Finish off the evening’s culinary experience with good quality coffee and/or tea with traditional mini mince pies.

Be sure to do as much preparation and cooking as you can before your guests arrive, so you can also mingle and enjoy the evening. If you are relaxed and enjoying yourself, your guests will too.

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