The Art of Entertaining has been curated by friends of Cloudy Bay as a guide to effortlessly recreate our Wonderscape experience at home. From crafting a menu showcasing seasonal produce to styling a tablescape inspired by the wonder of nature, the Art of Entertaining is your guide to sipping and savouring the best of Cloudy Bay wines in the company of friends and family.
In this extract from The Art of Entertaining, foodie and tastemaker Polly Markus gives tips on bringing your long lunch to life. Although great food will always leave a lasting impression, it’s just as important to create a relaxed, welcoming environment for your guests.
First, she says, is planning. Advance planning will ultimately make any occasion that much easier to pull off. Create lists and give yourself plenty of time for each task to minimise chaos. A relaxed atmosphere makes your friends feel at home and ensures they get the best of you throughout the day.
It’s also wise to plan your menu early and be sure to check for dietary requirements. Try to have a wide range of dishes on the menu: a protein, something starchy and a good selection of salads or vegetables will ensure there is something delicious for everyone.
The next thing is your seating plan. It’s key to keeping your guests happy and the conversation flowing. Sit extroverts next to introverts and strangers next to each other to create new bonds and friendships. Encourage guests to shift seats throughout the event, so they have the chance to chat with everyone and meet someone new.
When guests arrive, a chilled flute of Cloudy Bay Pelorus is a great way to welcome them into your home and encourage instant mixing and mingling. Having a few pitchers of sparkling and still water around the table is a good idea, and you can dress them up with slices of fruit and a mix of herbs with lots of ice. This will also help to create a more aesthetically-pleasing table setting.
Finally, remember the little details. Lighting and scent are oh-so-important as both create a welcoming environment for your guests. Use naturally-scented candles and natural light to enhance the setting. If you’re dining outdoors, ensure guests are protected from the elements.
Of course, the most important thing is that you–the host–get to enjoy yourself. After all, the best kind of host is a relaxed one. With a bit of planning and forethought, you’ll be able to be present for your guests and enjoy what you’ve created. That brings up one last tip from Polly: always make sure to leave the dirty dishes until everyone has left, because nothing kills the mood like cleaning up.
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