We all love a good dinner party. Here in Italy, we take dinner parties to a whole different level. Italy's culinary tradition is built upon thousands of years of history and has made Italy one of the top food destinations in the world. Something that may be less known to those who have never come to visit us, Italians serve food in a unique way. The craziness of the Italian dinner party often results in late wine-soaked evenings and a protruding belly. So if you find yourself in Italy at a dinner party, make sure there is an extra hole in your belt, you’re going to need it. If you can’t come to Italy there is no reason why you can’t create some Italian tastes at home. Thanks to changing taste buds and advanced global trade networks it is now possible to bring a little piece of Italy to your dinner parties. Here are a few tips for recreating the Italian experience in your own backyard.
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Start your party off right with something light, a little wine or prosecco from Italy would certainly impress your guests and get your palette ready for a nice meal. Be sure to serve your drinks in high-quality glasses, but don’t be afraid to add a little color. This portion of the meal should be fun and relaxing giving everyone a chance to chat and admire your preparation. Don’t forget to set out some light salty snacks we would hate for your guests to drink too much on an empty stomach.
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Next up we have the Antipasto (appetizer) portion of the meal. Stop, I know what you’re thinking. Before you free the mozzarella sticks from their frozen encasement at the bottom of your freezer, let us show you a better way. In Italy, this portion of the meal is reserved for slices of high-quality ham, salami, and cheese. The centerpiece of this array of cured meats should be a solid high-quality cutting board. A cutting board can be an elegant part of any antipasto. If you really want to impress your guests with something elegant and fun. The Doiy cheeseboard comes with two golden metal knives that look like a piece of Gruyère, giving you a tasteful and functional decoration. So don’t pre-cut the meats! Buy salami and unique cured meats like speck or bresaola that you or your guest can cut as needed. Giving them a chance to admire your cutting board.
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Once the table has been cleared of all remnants of cured meat and cheese, it’s time to whip out the good plates and the crystal wine glasses for the first course of the evening. Before we get into the food we need to consider the plates. The first dish needs to be served on a separate plate preferably a bowl as in Italy the first plate is generally a soup, risotto, or pasta. For the sake of this article though let’s skip the soup and assume your guests have already polished off two bottles of wine. You should stick to the classics. Try a lasagna made with proper handmade noodles, béchamel, and ragù (not from the can). If you want something lighter a spectacular risotto with saffron is a delicate and delicious way to kick off a good meal, don’t forget to coat whatever you choose in freshly grated parmesan.
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The pasta or risotto is finished, your guests have their hands resting on their bellies and they are leaning back comfortably in their chairs. They think that was the meal then, bam. You reveal why there was another clean plate under their round bowl. It’s time for the second course. You can present them with roasted chicken and potatoes. A white fish cooked whole, including the head, would add a tasty and creative element to the meal. One dish that might surprise them is a nice crusted salmon on a bed of yellow and red peppers. With this portion of the meal presentation matters. Simply pulling it out of the oven and setting it on the table will not do. You probably won’t need a high-end silver platter, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt.
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Prepare yourself because the meal isn’t over yet. I’m sure you may be getting full just reading this so we won’t torture you with more pasta and meat. It’s time to slow down and have a salad. Something simple here will suffice, go for the really leafy greens, avoid large chunks of vegetables, and do your guests a favor by not loading them up with carbohydrate heavy croutons.
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Sit back take a deep breath the hard part is over. Here it’s customary to take a little break, sit down and hang out while the brave few continue to pick at the leftovers. Ok, that’s long enough, it’s time for dessert. Don’t whip out the brownies and ice cream, Italian desserts should be light and delicate and may be served with a little fresh whipped cream. Typically Italian dessert is a lemon sorbet or gelato, in south Italy, they are a little crazier, and will have a heavier dish like cannoli or rum baba. No matter what you choose, it is of the utmost importance that you serve the dessert in a different dish. Go for something cute and playful this meal has been going on for two hours, all sense of formality has long been shattered. Cute ceramic serving plates are always an option especially when matched with a nice cup of coffee.
We did it. We got you through an entire Italian meal. It’s time for a little digestive Grappa and whatever is left of the wine. You’ve earned it. Side note: we have been keeping a secret from you waiting for the very last paragraph of the article. The perfect Italian dinner party requires lots of different plates and top notch utensils so there will be a hefty clean up afterward, but it will be worth it. Learn more and find the perfect kitchen accessories for your next Italian themed dinner party.