For the past several years, we have hosted at least one Christmas gathering at our house, sometimes it’s a family gathering, sometimes friends, and often a work gathering as well.  Our friends-gathering started out as a retro-chic fondue party, but after a spilled pot of fondue oil, we’ve moved on to more casual gatherings for  that particular group of people! The work-gathering occurs in conjunction with our Christmas party, so it is typically a little more formal.  The family gathering is somewhere in between, no fancy dress clothes, but typically a lower risk of spills (at least until all the babies are more mobile!) Each of these parties has its unique set of preparations that are required, however no matter what type of party you are hosting, making a plan in advance is a preparation that is essential everytime!

In October’s issue of Bon Appetit Magazine, Belle Cushing outlines 15 ideas for how to ensure a holiday dinner party sets off on a fun note.  As I was reading through the article, some of the tips seemed pretty straightforward, things like “make sure you have enough ice” and “good tunes are essential ”.  However, I was surprised that in a magazine that often seems to be on the far edge of new food trends, three of the suggested appetizers were Cheese Balls, Crudites (a.k.a. in my house as “Veggies and Dip”), and Shrimp Cocktail.  I had mentioned in a previous blog that the 70’s era houseplants are re-emerging as popular favourites.  I’m glad to see that the familiar appetizers from every single family gathering of my childhood are still popular favourites!

Of course, being a food/recipe/style magazine, the author had great suggestions of recipes to try for each of these appetizers.  However, realistically speaking if I’m hosting a dinner party and have determined a menu to cook, and cleaned up the house, it is very likely that I’m going to look for a bit of a shortcut where I can.  Luckily for me (and you too!) it is very easy, and just as tasty to pick up a Gourmet du Village dip mix, Cheese ball kit, and all sorts of sauces and preserves at Lacoste.  And because you mix them up yourself, you can embellish them and make them a part of your own secret recipe!