Sharing delicious food and wine, laughing with close friends and relaxing in the comfort of your own home - there is no wonder as to why the prospect of hosting a dinner party is so attractive.
Of all the cuisines of the world that you could select for the occasion, French food is especially appealing. The French have created some truly delectable creations. They were, after all, the ones who first invented french fries, or pommes frites, who own the area of the world where real Champagne actually comes from, and who are adventurous enough to eat snails and frog's legs. Anyone who has visited France and tasted their divine duck, had wine and goat's cheese at a local winery, or tried home-made Apricot tart will agree that this is a mouth-watering cuisine to begin experimenting with.
But how do you go about hosting a French dinner party?
A great place to start is researching online and in cookbooks to find inspiration. Take a look at the French recipe sections of Taste.com. Food.com also has a 'most popular French dinner party recipes' section, and French Kiss has a menu creation tool that can be used to create your own recipe and menu with shopping lists and detailed step-by-step instructions provided. To get in the mood watch Julie and Julia and you will be inspired to cook Boeuf Bourguignon and face stuffing the most unruly of birds.
Essentials of a French dinner party - Fresh ingredients
After getting inspiration, both the menu and the style of the dinner party begin to unfold. Do you prefer an elaborate dinner with three courses and printed menus? Or a more casual get together with good friends and wine? Determining the style of your dinner party will assist with your organisation and planning of the menu, decorations, and who to invite.
No French dinner party is complete without Champagne and macaroons
French cuisine is delicious but also quite complicated, so elaborate recipes should be tried once in advance to avoid dinner party disasters, although the odd recipe disaster can create great laughs. My mum's burnt pear tarte tatin had an amazing caramelised flavour that was better than all the times it was cooked to perfection.
The Monsieur of the house hosting a French dinner party in Lyon, France
French food is an adventurous start for those hosting a dinner party for the first time, but this is partly what makes the idea of it so fun, and, when it is done well, the results to die for. Whatever menu you decide on, be sure to have some delectable cheese, bread and wine handy that will hide all manner of kitchen disasters. Best of luck with your cooking adventures.