Don’t you just love it when you upload photos from your camera and come across tons of pictures you haven’t yet downloaded from ages ago? That is pretty much what just happened. I saw my summer photos from my little, casual gathering and couldn’t resist doing a post!
Summer in the North End is packed with people and each weekend brings a new Italian street festival. Carnival games, live music, and most importantly, food options are plentiful. I thought it was the perfect time to get a few friends together to host a wine and cheese party before walking around and checking out all the action outside. I meant to post this ages ago (geez it’s December and this gathering was end of the summer!!), but now here we are. Oh well, better late than never!
My apartment is pretty small, so keeping the guest count around ten was a necessity. My kitchen and living room are one in the same, like a studio. I broke up the room into areas where I used the little bit of counter space I have, to be devoted to drinks! I bought 4 bottles of wine (2 red and 2 white) and then made a big pitcher of white sangria (did you see the recipe?). By the way, if you plan to host a party at home, I found a great resource; a drink calculator to make shopping for the wine and booze much easier.
I got a few beers to fill the fridge and made Crystal Light mocktails for those who didn’t want an alcoholic beverage. I kept the wine and beer openers out so they were handy for guests too. I dusted off the wine glasses but I also bought small red cups in case my wine glasses ran out. I tried to find clear cocktail cups but no such luck! And I also made sure to have straws in case anyone wanted one for a wine spritzer.
By the couch, on the small black cube ottomans I have, I put out hummus with pita chips and put stools out in case anyone wanted to sit near the TV. But really everyone stood around by the kitchen table and counters where the drinks and food were! So I ended up taking that snack and moving it closer to us.
By the oven, I put out carrots and pretzel crisps to eat with store bought spinach dip, which I transported to a glass dish.
I love my recycled wine bottle cheese tray that one of my good friends bought me so that was home to my cheddar cheese with a plate of Triscuits and round stone ground wheat crackers. Hot pepper cheese and mozzarella with prosciutto, along with grapes, were on a cutting board I have. Brie had its own spot with more grapes on the table on a hand carved cutting board the bf got me in VT. The expert at the cheese store I went to (over by Haymarket) said 1 and half to 2 ounces of cheese would be more than enough per person, so 4 types did the trick for my group and there were even leftovers. I also referred to this article for advice too.
For music, I just used On Demand and flipped between Hit List and other stations. I lit a couple of candles and put out minimal decorations. I would have liked to get fresh flowers, but when I went shopping, my hands were too full to be honest, so my fruit bowl and fake daisy did the trick on the kitchen table.
It actually worked out really well because each group that came brought wine which ended up replacing all the wine I bought! We filled up on food and drinks and just as planned, headed out to explore the festival (called the feast) which was going on that night. Usually I would make more items homemade, but between shopping and cleaning up, it was just less stressful to get the dips already prepared and spend time arranging it. And also, this was an easy gathering to get ready for, since the point of the evening was to see my place, catch up, have a snack, but more importantly to walk around and eat more at the feast, since they have everything you could ask for, including sweet treats. Great time and I can’t wait for another excuse to host a small soiree!