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7 tips for hosting the perfect mid-winter dinner party

Maxwell & Williams Diamonds Collection. Picture: Supplied

Maxwell & Williams Diamonds Collection. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 20, 2022


Winter provides the perfect excuse to catch up with friends and family and indulge in some of those good for the soul foods and beverages.

Planning a fun and delicious dinner party can be a pretty overwhelming endeavour – there are just so many itty bitty things to think about.

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Thankfully the team at Maxwell & Williams offers seven winter entertainment tips to create a memorable evening.

General manager Betsie van der Westhuizen notes that gone are the days when invitations to face-to-face gatherings and celebrations are taken for granted.

“In the post-pandemic world, an invitation to a dinner party is something to be cherished.

“It is time to leave the cold outside and welcome in uplifting conversation, delicious food, and great wine,” says Van der Westhuizen.

Maxwell & Williams Cashmere Resort Collection. Picture: Supplied

Plan ahead

Thorough planning will make your dinner party a breeze. Start by considering the guest list carefully – will the group of guests have something in common to keep a conversation going for a whole evening?

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When inviting your guests, ask if there are any dietary requirements.

Imagine serving a show-stopping meaty pasta dish only to find out that your guests are gluten intolerant vegetarians.

The more you do ahead of time, the less you will have to do in the evening.

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The key is to choose drinks and food that can be partly or completely prepared in advance.

There is nothing wrong with mixing home-made dishes and store-bought food items.

Ask your local home industry store to make a crowd-pleasing meal in your favourite casserole dish.

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Dishes made in one pot or in a casserole dish served with a side salad are ideal.

Something like pasta and green salad, curry with rice and sambals or a roast with vegetables and potatoes.

Simple, seasonal, and flavourful are the keywords here.

Make it cosy

Nothing spells cosy quite like a log fire.

Or turn on your gas heater and light dozens of candles or fairy lights.

Create snug areas where guests can sit or stand together.

Do not forget that guests are likely to arrive with scarves, coats, and jackets, so allocate a room or closet where all of these items can be stored.

Music to put you in the mood for a warm night in.

Why not pull out the vinyl records or CDs and ask guests to choose music for the evening?

For a less hands-on approach, create a playlist on your favourite streaming platforms like Spotify or Deezer.

Set the table

A beautiful table setting says “welcome” and provides a wow factor as guests walk through the door.

Create a unique look with place cards, candles, and napkins, combined with your favourite dinner set and serve ware.

Finish your table setting with seasonal flowers or greenery from your garden and candles.

Keep your plates warm in the oven and only place them on the table as your main course is served.

A well-stocked drinks station

A BYO (bring your own) get-together is completely acceptable, but it is still important to have a stocked drinks station available with some good wines and non-alcoholic drinks like infused water or juice.

An interesting welcome drink could be a conversation starter in itself!

Special extras

Take time to create hand-written place cards with names and a handwritten menu.

Have smaller blankets on hand for guests who might feel extra cold and do not forget to check that your guest bathroom is freshened up with fluffy towels, flowers, enough toilet paper, and hand cream.

Say goodbye with something thoughtful

End the dinner party by giving each guest something special to remember the evening like home-made rusks, biscuits, or a mug.