One Quick Trick That Will Upscale Your Holiday Party Food

Written by D'Anne Hotchkiss

November 9, 2023

People at a party holding wine glasses and talking



One Quick Trick That Will Upscale Your Holiday Party Food

Knowing the right holiday party food to serve can be the most difficult part of planning any party.

Along with curating the guest list for just the right mix of people, selecting just the right holiday party food can ensure your party is a smashing success.

For many years I hosted a wine nouveau party in mid-November to usher in the wines we’d just bottled from the previous year’s crop. It was the highlight of the year at my house. The party was mostly standing room only, and it took a lot of planning to keep everything running smoothly. What with opening wines, replenishing foods, and greeting new guests, I was busy. Fortunately, there were always plenty of good friends ready to jump in to pull a cork, refill glasses, or answer a doorbell.

We’d start off with some aged wines and an assortment of foods. Then, just before bringing out the desserts, we’d open a few of the bottles we’d recently bottled and give everyone a tasting pour. First we’d talk about the newest vintages for a hot minute. Then, we’d toast to friends, fellowship, a good harvest and a great year ahead.


Follow This Trick

Still, over the years I learned one trick that upscaled my holiday party food and pleased my guests.

I learned to skip the ready-made and frozen stuff you find at the big box discounters. Instead, I served only simple and flavorful foods. I purchased those from my farm-to-table market, selecting local cheeses, cured meats and pickled vegetables I’d also buy some fresh vegetables to lightly grill and season with fresh herbs.

Indeed, I can tell you that absolutely no one ever lamented the absence of the highly processed and pre-made foods. In addition, judging by the foods that disappeared first, they favored those where the pure flavors and quality of the food shone through. They chose those over foods that were hidden under prepared dressings or heavy sauces. Their praise for our annual spread convinced me that the best holiday party foods are those that are fresh and locally grown.

I was delighted to discover that the fresh and local foods actually cost less than all those bottled dressings and sauces and ready-made hors d’oeuvres. It seemed that when I treated my guests to quality foods, they enjoyed eating them more. Paradoxically, they ate less.

Of course, to round out the assortment, I added roasted pecans because they pair so well with both wines and cheeses. Plus, they provided a protein option for any vegan guests.


Why Mid-November?

Are you wondering why we wedged the party between Halloween and Thanksgiving? Well, it is because Beaujolais nouveau wines are allowed to be released in France on the third Thursday in November. The party was an homage to the harvest. In addition, we’d celebrate the crush we’d just completed as the first step for the next year’s vintage.

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