One of the things I think of when I think of fall is gathering around the kitchen and fireplace with friends and family. There isn’t anything better than pulling out just a few simple things to make entertaining effortless, elegant, simple, yet fabulous. Sometimes less is more. And when you’re serving up quality things, less definitely is way more.
Coming from Greek descent, cheeses, wines, fruits are tastes I’ve always loved. So when I got the opportunity to work with The French Ministry of Agriculture, I was so excited. Food? Wine? Cheese? Chocolate? YES PLEASE! My trip to Paris a few years ago was nothing short of amazing and I can’t wait to go back one day.
It doesn’t take much to put together a spread for friends that is elegant, flavorful and rich to your taste buds. So I thought I’d share some tips on being the hostess with the most-ess, sharing what to serve and how from the various regions of France and some tips to having an effortless evening with friends. Made in France, with love.
First, let’s begin with our drinks.
MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC , one of the wines available all throughout the US, is very special. “Within 40 years, the Mas de Daumas Gassac wines, produced in the Languedoc region, have reached the rare status of «cult wine» that is only given to a limited number of exceptional estates in the world. Cultivated without any chemical or pesticide, Mas de Daumas Gassac remains a virgin land farmed with total respect of Mother Nature to preserve its balance. A Unique History! A “magic” terroir”! A cool microclimate amidst the South for France Heat! Ancient Rare Grape Varieties! Organic viticulture! Animal ran vineyard (horse plowing and sheep to control of the grass)! Hand-harvested vineyards & Thousand-year-old underground cellar!” So basically, this is some VERY special wine. And, I will tell you that it tastes amazing! It’s light and fruity and fresh.
Another wine that is available throughout the US that is equally as fabulous is LES VIGNOBLES ANDRÉ LURTON. Andre’ Lurton is one of the largest wineries in the Bordeaux region and is a family-run company of passionate wine-growers and wine-makers who are dedicated to producing exceptional wines from prestigious Bordeaux appellations.
If we have wines, we must have cheese to go with it. Give me all the cheese please! ISTARA cheese, available at Whole Foods, Costco and Wegman’s is rich and flavorful, not too salty, not too soft and pairs perfectly with fruit and crackers.
What pairs best with cheese? Fruits. Grapes, apples, and pears make the perfect accompaniments to these imported delights.
Believe it or not, when it’s butter like President Butter, consider it a spread. I always prefer to spread it on like a melba toast but spread it on anything, even bake with it. But it has such a creamy rich flavor that it’s best, in my opinion, enjoyed just by itself on the melba toast. Another option is topping it with a rich honey or fruit spread. But I love it plain. I think this butter takes me back to my roots, growing up as a child traveling to Greece so often, we used this butter believe it or not just like this, on our melba toasts. And….. for breakfast!
French chocolate comes in so many varieties. VALRHONA makes a Dulcey chocolate that’s SO different and so divine, I’ve never had anything like it until now. It’s considered a 4th color of chocolate (vs milk, white, and dark), is not too sweet with intense biscuity flavors and a pinch of salt and is a creamy texture as well. It also comes in a bark for baking, and you can find recipes to create HERE.
Music always sets the tone for any experience. Think of when you walk into a boutique and you hear the music in the background. Doesn’t it set up your experience to be a fun energetic one? or possibly not? Same goes with music for a dinner party. How about this French playlist to accompany these pairings?
What do you think about having a few friends over this fall and having a simple, elegant and effortless gathering using some of these French foods and drinks?
It feels fancy yet is simple enough for the busiest gal to pull together in no time. These are things I will definitely keep stocked in my home for unexpected guests for sure!