Putting A Better Spin On Dinnertime

Three Things You Should Know About Throwing Your First Grown-Up Dinner Party

If you've recently graduated from college and moved into your first fully fledged adult house or apartment, you're probably really looking forward to hosting grown-up dinner parties for the first time in your life. Following are three dinner party basics that will help make the evening come together in a seamless fashion. 

Always Have a Starter Course

Cheese, nuts, crackers and pate, and vegetable trays are all great starter courses. Having a starter course provides a transition between the arrival of your guests and the start of the actual meal. It also provides some breathing room in case guests are late. 

Serve Food That You Already Know How to Prepare

Even those with years of experience hosting dinner parties under their belts typically don't try out new recipes on nights when they're expecting guests. Sticking with tried-and-true recipes minimizes the chances that something will go wrong in the kitchen prior to your party. If you still haven't mastered any grown-up dishes yet, choose something fairly simple such as roast chicken, and give it a trial run a week or so before the big night so that you can iron out any possible kinks. 

Serve an Appropriate Wine

If you're still new to the wonderful world of food and wine pairings, you may be struggling with what type of wine to serve at your dinner party. Although pairing white wine with seafood and poultry and red wine with red meat such as beef and lamb is pretty much common knowledge, wine pairing is actually more complex than that. For instance, if you're serving salmon, most white wines aren't robust enough to stand up to the flavor profile of salmon. A light red wine is a far better choice. 

Even if you're serving a rich, savory red meat dish, not every red wine is a good pairing choice. If you're preparing bacon-wrapped filet Mignon, you're going to want to choose a red wine that's just slightly on the sweet side. If you're serving lamb chops with mint sauce, a medium-bodied red wine with herbal notes is a better choice than one with deep tannins and notes of dark fruit. However, there is no reason to to let choosing the right wine become a stressful obstacle—after all, the process of planning a dinner party should be pleasant instead of an anxiety-producing struggle. Visit your local wine retailer or the tasting room of a nearby vineyard for advice on what to serve with the particular food you plan to serve.