The Socialite Section: 10 Things to “Posh” Up Your Dinner Party

Photo credit: “Didriks”

Why settle for a bog-standard dinner party when you can impress with a few “posh” nuances…?

You see them sometimes on Come Dine With Me. People trying to impress by being “sophisticated”. Usually failing in the process as most of them don’t really know what they’re doing.

Using any of the following ten steps will definitely up your game at your next dinner party and get all your guests talking.

1. The Table Setting

Have a set of cutlery for each course, preferably your “best silver”. Also think about napkins folded into ambitious shapes. Present the menus in leather folders? And, of course, place cards. And for advice on how to set up a proper table setting, visit our other article, 10 Dos and Don’ts of Dinner Partying.

2. Cocktail Hour

Photo credit: “Elegant Cuisine”

Nothing gets your guests showing up early than the prospect of a cocktail or three before dinner. Summer weather will call for these being served on the patio or terrace, or at least in the garden.

3. Apéritif and Digestif

In a similar vein as the cocktail hour idea, serving something small but strong to stimulate the apetite, or settle it as the case may be, is always an idea. Port, sherry, whisky, liqueurs and brandy are all classics for this.

4. Serve a Trou Normand

Photo credit: Dominic Lockyer

Now we’re talking PROPER French-inspired dining culture. A Trou Normand is serving a liqueur – most commonly, Calvados Apple Brandy – in the middle of a meal. Calvados is perfect for cooking with too, so it always pays to have some around.

5. Appetisers, Canapés and Amuse-Bouches

An Amuse-Bouche as served by the now-closed Osteria 60, Kensington. It consisted of an almond cracker with black truffle mayonnaise and lemon zest

All of these constitute a pre-first course, to prepare the appetite for, hopefully, more goodness to come. Not so much nibbles as more of, as the name “amuse-bouche” will imply, occupy the mouth prior to the starter’s arrival.

6. Have an Intermezzo course

Strawberry Sorbet

You will have heard of the VERY posh dinner parties that serve a sorbet between courses. This is actually called an Intermezzo. It’s a palate-cleanser; particularly effective between two dishes with strong flavours that conflict with one another. Intermezzi we have served in the past have included strawberry sorbet and basil and cucumber gazpachio shots.

7. Give your dishes a French name

It sounds pretentious, but maybe you can take advantage of that for your guests’ amusement. Either way, nothing spells sophistication on a menu like dishes with French names.

8. Presentation

For many, fine dining is just as much about presentation (if not, more so) as it is about the taste of the food. Go the extra mile and be creative with your dishes’ presentation.

9. Hire “staff”

Do you know any younger siblings or those of your guests maybe who are looking to make a little money? Get them in to wait on your dinner table for the night, in exchange for a bit of cash and some of the food. If anything, it may take some of the stress off you having to serve everything yourself. It could be mutually beneficial.

10. Have an elegant or glitzy dress code

Pretty self-explanatory, to be honest. People love an opportunity to dress up, so give them one at your next dinner party! Maybe explore James Bond or Great Gatsby themes for potential added glamour.

Do you have any suggestions we haven’t mentioned for poshing up a dinner party? Leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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