Remember when I told you about my desire to start a dinner club? I think we did it! I think we started a dinner club. It is even more legitimate since I created an Instagram account for it (see here). So, I think whenever you host two dinner parties AND create a social media account you have just started a dinner club. When we started thinking about our winter installment we decided to let a literary classic be the source of our inspiration, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Here’s how we did it…
- Picking a theme – It turns out that picking a theme can be very hard, especially when you 0r your co-host might not share the same vision right away. For this dinner party we started out by creating a Pinterest board where we pinned pictures of decorations and food that seemed appropriate for a winter dinner party. Somehow in all of the pinning and discussion we landed on Narnia as our theme. We wanted to stay away from something that was too much like a Christmas dinner and we knew we would host the party after New Years so that was not an option. If you know the story then you know Pevensie children wander through a wardrobe to find themselves in a winter wonderland. We wanted to create that winter wonderland.
- Setting the menu – The menu is my favorite part of planning (I am sure you can guess why). I usually get overly excited and since we had such a fun theme to work with, the menu was important. So here’s how the menu planning usually goes (typically over drinks)…
Me: I know we talked about doing something like Cornish hens but what if we do some sort of red meat or like seafood…oooh maybe like a surf and turf!
Anna: Oh yeah, that could be really nice!
Me: Yeah, like maybe we do steak for 15 people and pair it with fish and like the whole plate is white and the meat is the only color on the plate and it’s just really pure…
Anna: Hmm, steak for 15 people you say? Is that going to be hard to pull off?
Me: Ooh and how about we do…
Anna: Hey, remember when we talked about Cornish hens?
Me: Yeah, ok, I think we should go back to Cornish hens.
So we ended up making Cornish Hens, cauliflower mash, roasted mushrooms, and roasted green beans. Everything was easy to execute and truly spoke to the winter season. (See pinterest board for recipes)
- Make a cake! – Alright, you don’t have to make a cake to have a successful Narnia themed dinner party but it only seems fitting to have cake at a party. I really wanted to push myself so I decided that my biggest contribution was going to be to make a layered cake with some sort of winter decoration. If you follow this blog then you probably know I don’t typically make cakes. I like to bake but cakes always seemed to fall in the category of being too stressful. I took a deep breath, drank a few cocktails and then got to baking. Anna arrived the next morning to help me finish decorating (she also kept me sane). I was extremely proud of the final product. We also had a Turkish delights in honor of the book but not everyone loved them (you should still make them because they are from the book).
- The decorations – I think any winter themed dinner party is going to be a little more fancy than one you might host in the fall. We knew we really wanted to play up the fantasy element but also have fun with it. Our hosts were gracious enough to allow us to use their fine wedding china and fancy glasses. We also pulled together lace tablecloths and candles to make a very elegant dining layout. If you check out our Instagram page you will see some the fur coats and crowns that helped bring home the Narnia theme. I wouldn’t suggest you run out and buy fur coats for just this purpose, we happened to have a friend who had a few lying around, ha!
- What to drink – Punch is always a good idea! Our hosts put together a delicious blood orange punch that our guests enjoyed before the meal. They also crafted a beautiful ice mold to go along with it. The punch was a bright way to start the night and since it was winter it was a nice distraction from the winter weather outside. We serve wine with dinner (of course) and ended the evening with some fun cocktails. One of our guests made coffee ice cubes which were a great addition to the kahlua and vanilla vodka cocktails we served with cake. If you want to go alcohol free then I suggest hot cocoa since that is very Narnian.
That’s how we hosted a Night in Narnia and how easy it is for you to host a winter dinner party with your friends or family! Stay tuned for our spring installment and more adventures with the Pittsburgh Dinner Club.