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Dinner Party: Little Paris Kitchen & Cookbook Giveaway

by Maxwell Tielman

Late February marks the time of year when winter’s charms begin to wear out. Sweaters and scarves, once donned excitedly, are now put on begrudgingly. Snow, which once seemed magical as it fell to the ground, is now just an unwelcome reminder that cold days still lie ahead. While one might prefer to simply hibernate until spring arrives, there are things one can do to shake up the midwinter doldrums. You can, for instance, go winter camping! Or, if going out isn’t your thing, take the excitement indoors with a dinner party! Dinner parties are excellent cold-weather diversions — they bring your favorite people together in an intimate setting full of warmth, laughter and that winter-weather essential: libations!

To celebrate the simple act of dining with friends, we’re launching a new feature today. We’re calling it Dinner Party, and it will showcase a few delicious recipes from a brand new cookbook as well as beautiful tableware from a favorite shop or designer. To kick off the series, we chose Rachel Khoo’s charming guide to modern French cooking, The Little Paris Kitchen. Newly released in America, this delightful little volume contains dozens of recipes that taste just as good as they look. To complement the pared down beauty of Khoo’s book, we decorated our table with a few super easy DIYs, a lovely printable menu and pieces from one of our favorite new stores: West Elm Market!

Hopefully, these recipes and table-setting tips will inspire your own Parisian dinner parties and give you the push you need to get through the worst of winter. But — if that’s not enough — we’re also giving away two copies of The Little Paris Kitchen to two lucky readers! To enter to win one of these fabulous cookbooks, simply leave a comment on this post telling us your ideal dinner party for a cold winter day. We’ll choose our favorites! — Max

To see all the recipes, DIYs and photos, continue reading after the jump . . .

Above image: We fashioned a tiny Eiffel Tower out of a single piece of copper wire. Bend a length of copper wire so there are about 4 inches on one side. Twist at the bend about three-quarters of the way down. Twist the longer side of the wire upward from the bottom, curve it across to the other leg and twist back down. Cut off any excess. Red striped dinnerware set from West Elm Market.

Above image: We made each guest a customized menu, printed on plain card stock. Print your own by downloading our template here! Wine glasses from West Elm Market.

Above image: We displayed bunches of dried lavender in vintage tins and mason jars wrapped with twine. For an added touch, we painted a red stripe around the twine with regular acrylic paint.

Above image: Palmiers served on an enamel roasting pan from West Elm Market. Full recipe below!

Above image: Our main course — moules marinières — served in an enamel cast-iron Dutch oven from West Elm Market.

Above image: These easy-to-make seashell candles helped create a lovely atmosphere. Check out the how-to here!

Above: The dessert! Îles flottantes, or floating islands.

Above image: We dressed up a simple strand of string lights by wrapping the cord with regular brown twine. Simply knot 2 foot lengths of twine to the cord and wrap it tightly around. When you reach the end of the twine, knot it and begin again. Repeat until the entire cord is covered.

Above image: The entire table! We used a canvas drop cloth, available at most hardware stores, as a tablecloth.

Palmiers (Elephant Ears)
Makes 30

  • 4oz puff pastry
  • 1 heaped tbsp Meaux mustard (or another grainy mustard)
  • 2 handfuls of finely grated mature Comté cheese or a mature hard cheese of your choice


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the puff pastry dough between two sheets of parchment paper into a 8-by-12-inch rectangle.

2. Spread the mustard over one pastry rectangle and sprinkle the cheese on top. Take one long side of the rectangle and roll it into the middle. Repeat on the other side so that the two rolls touch each other. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes* before cutting into thirty 3/8-inch-thick slices. Lay the slices on one of the prepared baking sheets.

3. Bake the palmiers for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room

Moules Marinières (Mussels with White Wine)
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course

  • 4 lb mussels
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced*
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme or a pinch of dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup crème fraîche
  • a handful of chopped parsley


1. Clean the mussels using plenty of cold water. Pull out the fibrous beards and scrub off any barnacles. Toss any that have cracked or broken shells or that do not close when lightly squeezed.

2. In a large pot (big enough to hold all the mussels with some extra room to spare), soften the onion and fennel over low heat with the butter, bay leaf and thyme. When the onion and fennel are soft and translucent, add the wine followed by the cleaned mussels. Increase the heat to high, cover the pan and cook for 3–4 minutes or until the mussels open, shaking the pan a few times to help them cook evenly.

3. At the end of the cooking time, remove the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme (if used) and discard any mussels that have not opened. Stir in the crème fraîche and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Îles Flottantes
Serves 6

For the crème anglaise

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 7 tbsp sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod*
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground long pepper or black pepper (optional)


For the praline

  • 6 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • scant 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds


For the islands

  • 2 egg whites
  • scant 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • a couple drops of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt


1. To make the crème anglaise: Mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape out the grains. Place the pod and grains in a pan with the milk and pepper and bring to a boil. Remove the pod, then pour a little of the hot milk onto the egg yolks and sugar, whisking continuously. Gradually whisk in the rest of the milk, then pour the mix into a clean pan, set over a gentle heat and whisk constantly. Do not let the custard simmer at any point or it will split. After 5 minutes, it will begin to thicken slightly and become the consistency of half-and-half (it will thicken more when it cools down). Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

2. Meanwhile, make the praline: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the sugar and water into a large pan, heat gently until the sugar dissolves and then increase the heat to high. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the almonds and stir continuously for 5 minutes to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Once the sugar and nuts have become a dark golden caramel color, pour onto the prepared sheet and spread as thinly as possible with a palette knife (be quick, as it sets pretty fast). Leave to cool.

3. To make the islands: Put half the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until snow white. Add the rest of the egg whites and continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks.

4. Gently drop six spoonfuls of meringue into a large pot of simmering water** and simmer for a few minutes or until they are slightly puffed up and just set. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a sheet of parchment paper until needed.

5. Pour a ladleful of crème anglaise into each of the six glasses and gently place a meringue in the center. Snap the praline into small pieces and sprinkle on top.

*The vanilla pod can be interchanged with different flavorings. Here are a few ideas to get your imagination going:

  • Winter warming: 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and a pinch of nutmeg
  • Chocolate chile: 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 pinches of chile powder, or to taste
  • Zingy citrus fruit: finely grated zest of 1 orange, 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime


**If you prefer, you can cook the islands in the microwave. Spoon six small heaps onto a plate, leaving at least 3/4 inch between each one, and microwave on medium-high for 30–60 seconds.

Suggested For You


  • what a lovely treat. her show is entertaining, wish there were more episodes.

  • Hope I win this cookbook! My ideal winter dinner party would include a 3-course meal of comfort foods with a French twist!

  • I would just love to embark on some french cuisine like the above (especially floating islands, one of my absolute fayvorite-could-eat-nightly-desserts), but my ideal dinner party for the middle of this dumb ol’ month is classic American. A pot roast that’s been roasting for hours surrounded by assorted veggies; fingerling potatoes, carrots celery and caramelized pearl onions–and some red wine (in the roast, and on the side!) And for dessert an apple pie, or mixed berry… or peach blueberry with ice cream (or without) I don’t care, really, any kind of pie will do.

    Or toss all that out, make some chili and have a Lord of the Rings– or insert your trilogy of choice– chili movie night. That’s what February is really for!

  • that looks like such a fun book!
    when the weather gets cold, i like soups/chilis/stews to sit around with friends and warm up with.

  • My ideal dinner party would include fresh rainbow trout. My grandparents used to fry it up for me when I was little from the lake next to their cabin. I think my friends would get a kick out of it. :)

  • Living in Alberta, I like to feature local product. I’ve been amazed, and like to show others, at the breadth of products from my new province! Roasted summer squash soup,roast beef with a spice crust, homemade rolls, apple relish, and plum kuchen with cinnamon ice cream for desssert.

  • My ideal dinner party on a cold day would have breakfast/lunch involved. A simple croque monsieur with frites, basket of brioche and croissants. That’s perfection for me.

  • I love watching Little Paris Kitchen, I would imagine the book is just as lovely! For a winter-y get together I love hearty pasta dishes and warm, crusty bread.

  • I love having a potluck soup night. I invite a dozen friends make a couple of different soups and have my friends bring salad, bread and dessert.

  • My ideal cold weather dinner party is a nice picnic in the living room. The kids and I pretend like it’s spring and spread a sheet on the carpet. The food is fresh and light like the mood. Add in some lawn games that can be modified for indoors and you have a winner. Always lots of laughter.

  • My ideal dinner party would include close friends, lots of wine, a few simple appetizers and a salad/main entree (probably a family recipe). I love to cook and entertain and would love to add this book to my collection!

  • My ideal dinner party is actually one my friends in my old town and I used to indulge in fairly frequently. Rich stew, with the pot on the table so everyone can help themselves, fresh crusty bread and good wine. Dessert generally optional, although if it happened it was usually pie or crumble and custard. Warming winter goodness and plenty of it.

  • I already had my ideal winter dinner party several years back for my December birthday: Friends made different kinds of asian dumpling filling, I made batches of dough, and we piled into my kitchen and rolled and stuffed for hours. While the team kept stuffing, I started great pots on the stove and steamed and fried huge batches. It was a snowy day in Bend, Oregon, and as more people arrived to eat, shoes dripping with melting snow piled up by the front door, and every time we opened the door, clouds of steam billowed out into the night air. We piled up dipping sauces on the coffee table and ate on the floor, couch, and chairs around the living room in our stocking feet. It was perfect!

  • I think an ideal cold-weather dinner party involves something hearty – like a beef stew. And lots of red wine. Maybe a nice hot apple pie for dessert, with ice cream? Definitely cozy, maybe even elbow-bumping-ly so. But that’s nice, because being together keeps you warm. :)

  • I would love to have a dinner with my family, and in a winter it will be a classcial French soup. I tried this recipe couple of times, and even my 12-years old son ate it. :)
    Love Rachel’s shows on Cooking channel. Would love to win her book!
    Thank you for the give away!

  • My ideal dinner party – Cold Winter’s Day (which it is today in CO)
    1) Several friends from different walks of life
    2) cozy fire with real wood
    3) Bottles of red wine (to taste)
    4) Crusty bread and a hunk of blue cheese
    5) Braised oxtail ragu
    6) Hot cocoa with a kick of cayenne
    7) Poems to share or a card game

    Add ingredients in that order and mix, slowly. Marinate.


  • i am from iowa, so my dinner would be local and fresh. since i still have plenty of butternut squash from last years harvest i would have baked squash filled with brown rice, garden grown spinach, garlic and onion. drizzle with a local honey/hot sauce mix. this lovely simple meal goes wonderful with a bottle of jasper winery “behind the shed red”. (if you haven’t tried it…it is a must!!) for dessert i would have a mexican chocolate cake (real simple magazines recipe :) but always a hit) enjoy!!

  • My ideal winter dinner party: Brie en brioche, Lamb and white bean stew, a copious salad with frisee and balsamic vinaigrette, warm fluffy rolls and a chocolate mousse. Yum.

  • Honestly, I’m such a francophile this would be my ideal, cold weather dinner party. I’d probably add some French Onion soup and mini creme brulees and call it a night!

  • This looks delightful!! I’m heading to the kitchen now! I’ve seen her show on Cooking Channel and LOVE IT!!

  • I would have my dinner party in a remote cabin in rural Northern Ontario, with iced tea light candles lining the walkway. We’d start with rustic homemade herb de provence french loaf, accompanied with summer’s sweetest cherry preserves and local sheep’s milk cheese. The bread would carry into the main course of beuf bourgonion with wild mushrooms, and silk, cheesy, truffeled polenta. Steamed garlicky rapini and a citrusy heirloom apple salad would finish it off. For dessert, individual salted caramel creme brûlées; nestled inside an apple, topped with vanilla bean creme fraiche. Candles and tea lights will surround the dimly lit, fire-warmed room. Pillows, throws and spruce bows scattered around the rustic scene. Mason jars are the drinking vessels of choice with, local wine to accompany each course. Vintage french records are the soundtrack for the night, going into the early morning.

  • My ideal dinner party would be a small gathering of family from multiple states — my handsome beau and his epic meat-seasoning skills (like any true Texan has), my stepmother whose culinary prowess inspires me (and whose raw oyster shots are the stuff of winter dreams), my dad, for whom the glass is always half full (as all dinner party glasses should be), my brother, who makes me laugh til it hurts, and his charming ladyfriend, a ginger princess who has won my heart as much as she has his.

    The six of us would somehow materialize in LA together, raid the Mar Vista farmers market for purple potatoes, beets, kale and cheese, manifest something delicious in our too-small kitchen, eating the whole time, drink heaps of wine, and melt into our chairs after too few hours, full bellies, full hearts.

    In this fantasy, my dog has domestic skills and does all the cleanup.

    Very excited for this new column! (And so loving the Little Paris Kitchen — just made her quenelle dumplings and am obsessed!) Thanks, D*S!

  • I love Little Paris Kitchen!

    Ideal dinner party for the cold? Something cozy and luscious, with dear friends. Start with crudites for an appetizer then a bean and sweet potato chili as a main. We’d have a warm chocolate cake with caramel and a good gossip for dessert!

  • super lovely setting & design!

    my ideal winter dinner party would be a grilled cheese making party. i saw it on Beautiful Mess- get different items (cheeses, veggies, meats) for various combos then enjoy with warm tomato soup! and wine!

  • My ideal winter dinner party really has more to do with people than what’s served (although I do love the eating part too). A small group of close friends, warm, simple, delicious food (soup?), and easy, comfortable conversation sounds perfect to me. Thanks for a sweet giveaway!

  • I need this cookbook as I am trying to become more adventurous in the kitchen. My ideal dinner party would be a pot luck Sunday supper. I am lucky to have friends from many different ethnic backgrounds. To be able to sample a bit of everyone’s culture would be great. Friends, wine, homemade food, tulips in mason jars and tea lights are really all we need.

  • Ooh! I love a good winter dinner. Beef short ribs are my go to. So cozy and tasty! Not to mention simple….

  • For a cold February dinner party I make an organic lentil soup, vegetarian for the guests that do not eat animal or dairy: I live in LA and having the food options available for all guests can sometimes be a challenge!
    I add meat and dairy as side dishes, warm goat cheese and parmesan with scallions to garnish the soup. Grilled sausages to keep the carnivores happy. Several bread options, (some gluten free choices) warm olives, roasted beets and fresh greens for a salad. Red & white wine and bottles of pelligrino on the table. I am not a big desert person so it is usually fresh fruit, cookies, gelato and coffee. If I am lucky my sister will make me a cake to serve.
    Fresh flowers, interesting music and good friends make for a lovely evening.

  • a ROARING fire, low lighting, excellent wine, julia child’s beef bourguignon, and as many friends as I can stuff around a table!

  • I’d go for a bit pot of fiery curry, cooling Baighan Bharta and fresh naans. Beer and a minerally, low alcohol white wine to wash it down.

  • I had a valentine’s themed party just last weekend, although the food wa more noshy than dinnery, I made large sheets of socca, a French garbanzo flour based flatbread, along with 101 cookbooks’ baked artichoke dip and a spicy homemade romesco sauce. For dessert I made chocolate truffles from the Johnny Battles recipe here on d*s! I flavored then with orange peel and vanilla – huge hit.
    For atmosphere, I strung up a mini clothes line and created a “hearts and crafts” station where guests coul make valentines and hang them up. Oh, and I also downloaded and printed the giant vday posters on oh happy day to hang and pin hearts to.
    I love dinner parties where there is lots of interaction with the guests and the food and wine. Being together laughing in the kitchen and adjusting recipes is the best!

  • Last NYE I had friends over and made a huge pot of chili and lots of cornbread. Perfect for warming up and counteracting the alcohol we also had!

  • My surrogate Italian grandmother (aka my parents former next door neighbor) taught my mother and me how to make a huge pot of Sunday gravy: meatballs, pork ribs, sausage and braciole that simmers all day in a tomato and red wine sauce. It makes the perfect, no stress winter meal with mounds of pasta, fresh baked bread, and bottles of red wine. Who wants anything but a meat and carb fest when it’s freezing outside? Finish off the evening with Amarcord and parmesan dusted popcorn (and more red wine) and you have the perfect, cozy winter dinner party.

  • Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Dorothy Parker. There would also be food.

  • My ideal dinner party happens every month or so – it’s anytime we get together with friends and hang out and cook together. That what makes it special, the comradery in kitchen. And sharing a few bottles of wine doesn’t hurt either…

  • Wonderful images and tasty reciepes! My most recent winter dinner party consisted of a hearty homemade soup, artisan bread from a local neighborhood bakery and citrusy green salad. There was a group of 8 of us. We laughed and talked throughout dinner and played Scrabble into the night while eating my husband’s famous carrot cake with a really good cup of coffee (we are from Seattle, after all!).

  • My ideal dinner party would be fondue. We could start out with some nice cheese fondue with crusty home made bread and crisp veggies. Then a main course of broth fondue with chicken and beef and a selection of sauces to dip into once the meat is cooked. For dessert chocolate fondue with berries, madelines, unfrosted cupcakes and bananas.

  • What a lovely setup! I love the Mason jars with twin and lavander. Such a nice way to dress up the Mason jars and dress down the lavander.

    My ideal winter dinner party would be laid back and cozy. I’d do a grown-up grilled cheese bar (all sorts of cheeses that don’t come in wrappers or resemble plastic, homemade herbed butters, homemade sourdough bread, different deli meats, and some homemade sauces for optional jazzing up), homemade cider and mulled wine, and a hot chocolate bar (variations of mixes from salted caramel to peppermint mocha) with homemade marshmallows. I’m a kid at heart.

    There would be Mason jar lanterns, throw blankets for every to cozy under, a crackling fire, and lots of big cushy pillows on the floor so there is plenty of room for everyone to get comfortable.

  • Any dinner party I have usually consists of drinking out of mason jars, homemade center pieces, chocolate desserts and more importantly, people I enjoy spending time with! :) Cooking is probably my favorite thing to do for others and I’d love to try some new recipes from this cookbook! Here is a shot of my last get together for Friendsgiving. http://instagram.com/p/ScStR0JQgC/

  • I agree that a pasta dinner is always a winner on a cold winter’s night…maybe a cheesy macaroni & cheese with cauliflower and a crunchy topping, served with a salad and fruit-based dessert (a tart?). Another option would be this wonderful vegetable pot pie I made once…all the veggies are roasted, giving them a rich flavor. For a dessert, something warming and a bit spicy, like spiced-poached pears and mascarpone cream, or just a simple spice cake with a dollop of cream.

  • Anything warm, comforting, and a little bit playful (much like this dinner party!).

  • Gin-Due! (usually celebrated 21 Jan, but this year – it may be 21 Feb)

    Gin & TOnics (to remind us summer is coming)
    Fondue (to celebrate winter’s passing)

  • during our last snow day, my husband and i declared it ‘spaghetti western wednesday’ – we made spaghetti and marinara with runny eggs, opened some wine, and watched ‘a fistful of dollars.’ a cozy afternoon, perfect for a winter day stuck inside

  • What a lovely idea for this cold weather! My partner is from Russia and I would loove to try some of his mother’s recipes to host a Russian-themed dinner party. Warm soups, lots of tea, and little pelmeni dumplings. They have this absolutely beautiful Soviet era teaware that would make for a perfect table setting.

  • I love french cusine but have been always afraid to try it! I think hosting a French dinner party would be a great way to force myself to learn!

    I would have to add some French onion soup and French baguette to my winter dinner party though.

  • I really enjoyed this post- the comments are amazing! I read every single one pretty much salivating- got some new ideas for a small get-together this Saturday.

  • My mom used to have to do a lot of hosting back when my dad was in the military, and the coolest idea she came up with was a soup swap, where everyone brought a different soup, and she put out a buttload of mugs for everyone to try a little of each one. I love soup and eating stuff from bowl-type vessels, so I’ve always wanted to do this.

  • Such a brilliant idea, I loved the wire Eiffel Towers! I think the best type of dinner party on a cold night is an Eskimo or penguin party. You have fish, warm beverages, and plenty of decor ideas. Warm breads to sop up any leftover soup… Yum!

  • A cosy-crazy Japanese dinner party: stockinged feet under the kotatsu, delicious food cooked from the easy to follow recipes on http://www.justhungry.com, and karaoke for dessert. (We would need wine, though.)

  • I actually get to host my ideal winter dinner party this weekend! I’m making Boeuf Bourguignon with Parsley Potatoes and a warm Green Bean + Almond Salad! With a delicious wine, candles, good friends and a fireplace in the corner, I think it’ll be just perfect!

  • l Iove Rachel Khoo and her whole journey from an art background into becoming a trained french chef living in Paris . Having a copy of her book would inspire me to cook for a dinner party. Which I have always been afraid to do. Especially as my kitchen is so tiny.Keeping with her aesthetic and my present skills . I would keep it simple and use the freshest ingredients bought at the Farmers Market in Little Italy here in San Diego. Fresh crunchy french baguette with goat cheese.Oive oil , drizzled over.heirloom tomatoes on a bed of rocket. Served with a glass of chilled white bordeaux . Served as a picnic inside or outside . Everything I need to throw an impromptu dinner party with for those I love.


    erved with a glass of wine. Everything I need to throw an impromptu dinner party with for those I love.

  • Such a fun book and great dinner party! My ideal winter home dinner party would be a potluck chili dinner. I love trying different variations of chili, and I find each family makes theirs a bit differently. Of course we’d have to accompany it with an assortment of cornbread. From traditional, to the kind with cracklin (as my grandma made for me growing up) or even with jalepenos and cheddar the cornbread is just as exciting as the chili to me! I’m getting hungry just typing this out!

  • My ideal dinner party would be one where the hors d’oeuvres are potluck, because my friends and family love to cook, too, and would want to be in on the action. Then dinner would have a nicely plated salad followed by a seasonal, vegetable-heavy main course, followed, since I am a baker, by a dessert buffet with mini portions of several different foods. I can never choose just one recipe : )

  • For a nice winter dinner party I would invite three other couples from our neighborhood. We do a monthly lunch and refer to our group as “the girls in the hood”. It would start with stuffed mushrooms, proceed to a crisp green salad with a balsamic dressing, baked penne with italian sausage and a arrbriatta sauce and finish it off with a small brownie with raspberries. Plenty of wine and coffee too! Would love to win this book!!!

  • A potluck in with friends, wine and baked brie. Fire Roasted Tomato Bisque, crusty homemade bread, roasted vegtables and quinoa, mixed green salad with goat cheese, red onions and cranberries, etc. Warm right out of the oven cinnamon buns for desserts with some chai tea lattes!

  • I think some gooey, cheesy French onion soup and plenty of red wine would be lovely. Simple and cozy.

  • It can be a bottle of red wine, cheese, bread & salad or breakfast for dinner. Whatever — a winter dinner always consists of good friends, food and conversation. ALWAYS laughter.

  • What a great idea! Paris was the best destination of my life. We went there with my boyfriend as friends and returned as a couple. In March we have our third anniversary and I think, that, if I win this book I will prepare for him the best recipe, pack everything in a pick-nick basket and take him to eat by the lake. thank you very much for the opportunity to win the book!

  • A simple tablecloth for the table in linen color with ball mason jars open and tealight candles inside. The plates would be plain white with colorful napkins and bowls used for the meals. There would be homemade bread with a thick crust, a hearty soup – and homemade butter. Everyone would have a place card with a word they evoke as part of their character (such joyful, thoughful etc,)Everyone would bring a dish for the main course with a recipe card which would be photocopied and made into a 4.25″x8.5″ side stapled book and handed out to guests at the end thanking them for coming. Although it would be cold outside – there would be ice cream served in mugs with colorful material pieces tied to the handles for dessert and lots of toppings in colorful cups.

  • Hooray for Rachel Khoo. I just adore her recipes! My ideal winter meal would start with a chestnut & pear soup, followed by a citrus salad with shallots and mint to brighten the taste buds, and then a roasted chicken with lemon, olive oil, capers and purple potatoes, followed by a plate of local cheeses and jam paired with a variety of green and oolong teas. Everyone would leave with a small cotton bag filled with enough tea leaves for a cup to enjoy at home.

  • Friends and wine lots of wine, cheese…….oh and bread, several home made loafs. Along with dips and butter (the real stuff). Then onto the main course of stew (beef, chicken, vegetable). Followed by a lovely trifle.
    But the friends and wine come first!

  • Ideal winter dinner party involved a soup buffet followed by smores roasted out back on our portable fire pit.

  • The Lemongrass Beef Stew from Charles Phan’s Vietnamese Home Cooking is so very good. I would serve this with a baguette or jasmine rice and some pickled mustard greens.
    And for dessert, panna cotta topped with blackberry jam.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would be fondue! Start off with a nice cheese fondue paired with pretzel bread, apples and sausages. Then a lighter broth based fondue to offset the heavyness of the cheese and of course finish up with a chocolate fondue.

  • My ideal dinner party would be an indoor picnic full of vintage elements (quilts, pillows, mis-match plates, napkins, silverware) and light, but satisfying food.

    – Pear, gorgonzola, + honey crostini
    – Light spinach salad with fresh blueberries, toasted pecans (or walnuts), goat cheese, + a balsamic vinaigrette
    – Can’t forget dessert! (it’s the best part) chocolate chip cookies with peppermint hot chocolate!


  • My dinner parties have to be simple because I work two jobs. I try to have at least a small one every Saturday because it forces me to stop working and clean my house! This Saturday’s menu is a kale and squash strata with crusty french bread and wine. Dessert will be a butterscotch pudding.

  • My ideal winter dinner gathering would include 6 of our closest friends, candles, 2 guitars, 2 shakers, singing and a fire. The meal would include a huge loaf of walnut Tartine Bread from the corner bakery http://www.tartinebakery.com, a winter salad that includes pecans, pomegranates, persimmons and fennel and for the main dish a homemade beef bourguignon (my favorite!!!) and several bottles of Pinot Noir. For dessert there would be a traditional rhubarb pie.

  • My ideal dinner party involves 7 of my closest girlfriends dressed up to the nines with chic tights as the only dress code requirement and sipping on bubbly and red wine in the kitchen while we wait for the last things in the oven to cook. We will all sit around my newly finished rustic table which is set with white square dishes, gold colored flatware and white candles of various sizes. We will keep the music playing and the bubbly flowing while we eat savory food and catch up on life.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would be Spanish-themed – paella as the main dish with warm tortilla espanola and freshly baked, homemade bread. It would be accompanied with sangria or red wine, and followed by a dessert of fresh churros with warm chocolate pudding for dipping.

  • Living in Pittsburgh, I have some experience with this thing called cold. Ideal winter meal would be Belgian beers, a creamy squash soup with roasted pepitas, beef short ribs braised in red wine and coffee, mashed potatoes with garlic and spinach, roasted beets, and homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream and Grand Marnier on the side.

  • The ideal dinner party would be low key. It would include a risotto, some stinky cheeses, appetizers and many other easy to eat items. It would be warm and cozy and full of love.

  • Can we see a close-up picture of the light string covered with twine, and maybe a word or two about how you did it (did you just tie it on or hot glue it?)

    • Susan: Just added a close-up and more detailed directions! It was super easy, it just takes a little bit of time. I’d suggest doing it when you have some down time, perhaps in front of a good movie! :)

  • Living in the great cold north (MN), everything must be warm and cozy this time of year. A big pot of soup or stew with a hunk of baguette smeared with great butter. Dessert should be chocolate and warm and served with a great homemade vanilla ice cream. Candles on the table and a fire in the fireplace are a must.

  • My favorite dinner party in winter is a soup party: a nice selection of (meal) soups, served in a buffet setting, with lots of things to add into the soups (croutons, cheese, bits of bacon, …), all served in beautiful mix and match bowls :)
    Just visited Paris with the kids, fell in love again with the city and the food!

  • My ideal dinner party for a cold winters night would consist of a hearty country soup, crusty bread, good french cheese and wine, a warm fire and plenty of conversation and laughter.

  • I love to have a good old-fashioned fondue party. Different courses of cheese, meat, dessert and different styles of each course. Everyone can bring their own ‘dippers’ to share. It’s amazing how creative people can become when asked to bring something to dip. Plus, fondue is no quick meal, so it provides lots of opportunity for good drinks and good company!

  • Most certainly, my go to winter dinner party always includes slow braised short ribs with red wine and herbs, roasted vegetables all served up nestled in creamy polenta that is flavored with fontina, parm and thyme. Of course, there would be beautiful crusty bread to mop up any delicious sauce. For dessert? Mixed berry Pavlova!

  • My ideal winter party involves Soup, Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Rumchata cocktails, music and friends!

  • My ideal winter dinner party is a big pot of minestrone soup and red wine served to family. Great stories all around. Some sort of chocolate something for dessert.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would be comfort food all the way – maybe a hearty lasagna, fresh baked bread, and a baked apple dessert? Anyway – I love this idea of paring down a dinner party to three courses all from one cookbook – keeps it simple and contained! I may start a similar “dinner party club” with my friends!

  • I did a few but a fun one that comes to mind (and that I keep saying I’ll repeat) was my very casual soup party! It was such fun for everyone. Mood: Set mainly in our living room’s space, with big candles, guitars everywhere (most are musicians), a big comfy couch, extra seats and a cozy fire in the wood stove (a fun luxury that makes any winter gathering pleasant). Food: I made (ahead) big pots of soups: Creamy tomato and bacon, killer!! Cream of cauliflower with cheese, so good yet light! Chunky, savoury, chickpea, tomato and rosemary soup (addictive) and finally, my mother’s light French potato and leak soup. The reheating made it all extra tasty (and easy for me). All I needed with this was good wine, crusty bread, butter, sea salt, a pepper grinder and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil on our table nearby. I set out bowls, mugs, little spoons, big spoons and napkins for all to help themselves. Some friends brought beer, wine, olives, and dessert. The mood was casual enough for some to wash their own bowl to try a different flavour. It was loads of fun with chitchat and music. For dessert (if anybody cared at that point and much later) after more playing, I had vanilla ice cream with whiskey caramel sauce + what ever friends brought. There was also tea and good strong coffee with choice of milk, cream and Bailey’s and sugar cubes because sugar cubes are always more fun! ;)

    It was the one time where I was super relaxed and in no need to putter. A good time distracting us from our Canadian winter.

  • My ideal dinner party would start out with everyone dropping their phones (and other mobile devices) off with their coats. Then, small talk while sipping mulled cider and hot toddies, with Nina Simone playing in the background. Afterwards, a roasted root vegetable salad to start, followed by corn chowder. I imagine having a giant, steaming pot of seafood paella served family-style for the main course, finishing off with affogato for dessert. Afterwards, we’d all play a board game like Taboo or Cranium.

  • my ideal winter dinner party menu changes with the temperature! today it’s COLD and it would go something like this…
    to start: a bourbon-based cocktail and some warm, spiced nuts, couch-side
    at the table: spicy ma-po tofu over fresh, steamed jasmine rice and garlicy, wilted water spinach
    for dessert: pound cake with a blood orange compote
    and to get people to linger, the promise of hot chocolate before they leave (spiked, if they’re not driving!)

  • We are still in summer here in NZ and even though I read your warnings of not wishing for winter I am really looking forward to coming home to a blazing fire and something delicious cooking on the stove. My ideal winter meal would involve many friends around the table with the scent of mulled wine in a cozy room with steamed windows. A simple Italian bean soup with lots of rosemary to start, lamb shanks that have been cooking all day in a rich gravy with couscous for the main meal and rhubarb crumble with butterscotch yogurt for dessert. Yum-I am so ready for this!

  • Oh my, I think I’m having my perfect winter dinner party next week! Coming home from not-so-chilly Spain I’m planning to give my friends a piece of my holidays – the love, the memories and the impressions paired with warming red lentil soup, the explotion of colours paella and a piece of my favourite apple – cinamon crusty pie with some spanish custard (they call it flan). Everything served in my grandma’s old china set with deep indigo edges, which from now on will remind me so much of Spanish tile designs.

  • My ideal dinner party would be a super-casual, with some friends coming over and us all making something comforting like lasagne, macaroni and cheese, or a pot roast. Something that takes a little while to cook so we can hang out.

    To make it a little more special I’d do a dessert, too, I like to make creme caramel or baked fruit for occasions like this, since they’re super easy but come across as kind of fancy. And it has to be something warm during winter!

  • a make-your-own-pho bar. everyone gets the broth and noodles but you get to choose between basil, sprouts, peppers, sriracha, whatever you want to customize your bowl to your liking.

  • My roommate and I love to play grown-up (we’re 27, so what we’re really playing at I don’t know…) and entertain our friends with occasional dinner parties. During the Winter it’s all about hibernation fare. I love stews and have a go-to favorite (Portuguese-inspired with hot sausage, white beans, and kale), and we are obsessed with roasted brussel sprouts. For dessert some kind of seasonal fruit galette or spiced cake is key. We also like to experiment with drinks/cocktails and when it’s cold out love things like spiced cider or rum.

  • For the ideal winter dinner party, the whole gang has to have come in from doing something active outside… perhaps some sledding or cross country skiing? Music is put on while everyone showers/changes, then people slowly drift into the kitchen where a pot of tomato-y, garlic-y, pungent beef has been simmering all day. Cheese and bread are set out while the cocktails are made. A salad is thrown together with pears and blue cheese. Then everyone sits, conversations are had, jokes are laughed at, and then someone else does the dishes!

  • My ideal dinner party for a cold day would be tomato soup with a grilled cheese bar!

  • for a winter dinner party, i would definitely make some homemade french onion soup with gruyere broiled on top. also in the mix would be a simple, fresh salad with a light vinaigrette as well as a homemade apricot tarte (that’s my specialty). simple yet delicious!

  • My idea of a perfect dinner party, is a small dinner with close friends and family held outside under the stars and lit by the moon with the help of candles. Lovely.

  • Loved an episode of her show that I caught randomly!! Perfect Parisian dinner party for me would be perfectly roasted chicken, potatoes, and sauerkraut purchased on a brisk December afternoon from the farmers market – coincidentally very similar to a meal I shared with my sister when I visited her in Paris! I can just see the chicken spinning and dripping on the spit, as street peddlers play their music amid the hussle and bussle of shoppers. The markets in Paris are truly inspiring – I can see why Rachel is inspired to cook simple Parisian food everyday! :)

  • Since I grew up in Louisiana, my ideal party idea for winter involves a huge pot of seafood gumbo and some excellent french bread shared among close friends. A big salad to start, and something equally comforting for dessert–maybe a homemade butter cake with chocolate pan frosting, or maybe bread pudding with rum and raisins, in keeping with the Louisiana theme. Mmmmm.

  • My next dinner party is a book exchange. Maybe someone will bring a cookbook!

  • We were trying to decide what to do this weekend as want to have a fairly low-key weekend with food and films. We’ve been thinking of themes in terms of movies but weren’t sure how to make dinner a little different – you’ve just completely inspired me!
    French movies, warm crusty bread and Îles flottantes – parfait!

  • My go-to winter dinner party is cozy and casual. As long as there’s warm, hearty soup and crispy bread, the times are good. My ideal winter party is probably more international in its cuisine, but winter is too short in Austin to spend too much time on the planning. It warms up by the time you’ve chosen a new recipe!

  • I would make my aunt’s famous chicken marbella with roasted vegetables and rice pilaf. For dessert, a really rich chocolate tarte. It’s winter in Minnesota, so we don’t have to worry about looking good in a bikini for months. We would obviously then get drunk and play Catch Phrase.

  • My ideal dinner party (happens probably too frequently) would be a couple (more?) of bottles of red wine, a cheese plate involving some seriously delicious bread, humboldt fog goat cheese, Parmesan, fontina, prosciutto, salami etc, fiocchi pasta filled with pear and goat cheese with a side of grilled asparagus drizzled in a lemon vinaigrette…AND affogato to finish. I’m sorry, nothing tops a warm, carb-centric Italian meal. If your going to indulge…INDULGE. It always brings my friends and family together for great nights of conversation. Of course candles, simple flowers and unfussy music are great too!

  • My ideal dinner party is something that I already do – My girlfriends and I are having a ‘girl’s night’ dinner party tomorrow. We’ve done this before, and we make it an all day event: First, we start off by going to our local farmer’s market (here in Cleveland we go to the West Side Market) to buy fresh product and meats for whatever meal we’re preparing. Tomorrow we’re making a white fish soup, roasted acorn squash and fresh greens. Then, we spend the rest of the day prepping until we enjoy our meal in good company and with good drinks. Afterwards, we usually do an activity together. This time we are all making our own individual chocolate mug cakes as a dessert!

  • I love something simple and hearty that you can make ahead and not fuss over, like a yummy greek pastitsio. Maybe a little green salad and some garlic bread if I’m really feeling bothered, but just having some friends casually gathered around the living room with steamy bowls of cinnamony meat sauce, bechamel and noodles… Mmm, yes please!

  • My ideal winter dinner party is a salad with the best winter greens, baked goat cheese and pomegranate, followed by a hearty beef stew or pot roast with a creme brulee for dessert. We’re stuck inside so there’s lots of time to make it special!

  • My idea dinner party– done quite ften– thin thin pizza crust we each roll out, a good homemade sauce, acres of fresh ingredients and lots of fresh mozz and other cheeses for toppings…fun, quick, and everyne participates, Good beer, too, of course.

  • My ideal cold-weather dinner party would involve soup – something of the creamy and comforting variety, maybe tomato basil or broccoli cheddar, a nice loaf of homemade bread, and something like warm apple crisp for dessert. This would be followed with playing games by the fire place!

  • My ideal dinner party for February would involve just a few close friends, hot soup, and really good bread. Looks like a beautiful cook book!

  • My ideal dinner party has mushroom and puff pastry appetizers, followed by a huge mixed greens salad with heirloom tomatoes and vinaigrette, and then a hearty white lasagna with spinach, chicken and fontina. Add good friends and a generous dose of wine and music, and you’ve warmed up even the coldest winter!

  • My ideal dinner party for a cold winter day would include some great Parisian jazz tunes playing in the background, a few homemade soups simmering in slow cookers (like carrot, potato, and butternut squash) and the makings for some great grilled cheese sandwiches (see the Design Sponge “Autumn Grilled Cheese, 3 Ways” post on 9/21/2012). Cue the fire in the fireplace while everyone chips in to make sandwiches over great conversation!

  • Mmmm, this post is heavenly. I have three young girls and most of our friends have young kids too – so our favorite winter dinner party is to make homemade pizzas! My hubby makes the dough (and usually makes plenty extra for the kids to play with) and then everyone tops their pizza to their liking. Plenty of beer and wine (and milk for kiddos) and it’s the perfect night with friends. Plus the oven makes the kitchen warm during those cold winter nights!

  • Folks in Mobile, Alabama don’t usually have to contend with snow but it does get chilly. And wet. Very gray and wet.

    We (my enormous family that is) love a good indoor/outdoor party. An old barn or wide porch strung with lights. A bonfire nearby. There would, of course, be a cousin shucking oysters for starters. Maybe some home made pork rillettes on crusty bread. Probably some grilled quail legs. We pride ourselves on an outstanding array of available booze so everyone picks their favorite. Wine, whiskey… whatever. I’m a fan of champagne with oysters, myself.

    Later, after much story telling and drinking we would settle down to a couple of long, rough tables and dig in to a big roast with au jus. Slow cooked greens, cast iron cornbread, field peas, marshall’s biscuits, green beans and roasted red potatoes. Plates are cleared off and more wine, whisky, what-have-you is sipped and many more stories are told as we make room for desert. Desert is warm pecan pie and breyers vanilla icecream. mmmmm! Later, everyone sits quiet around the low fire- warm, full and happy.

    I just made myself hungry!

  • Love this cookbook and on a side note – I’m a huge fan of the new westelm market! It’s wonderful! My ideal dinner party for these cold days is complete with a build your own pizza station of sorts, it’s easy to pull together and assemble on quick notice, but add in board games or a night of Wii playing and some vino and you’re set. It’s a blast, super simple and your friends all have a great time!

  • Pot of fondue by a glowing fire. Doesn’t matter if I’m the only guest. Let the cheese flow freely!

  • My ideal winter dinner party would be a cozy/comfy/homestyle feast. Comfort foods! Nothing says winter like stews and bread. Yummy. And of course there would have to be a wonderful dessert spread as well.

  • My ideal dinner party would involve guests arriving early to help with the cooking, snacking, conversing, joking all the while. Farmers market flowers on the table. My ideal menu:

    Appetizers: Etorki Cheese and Castelvetrano Olives and some Crusty Bread
    Main: Devils Chicken Thighs over Braised Leeks (Dijon Mustard breaded chicken with Tarragon and white wine reduction, a la Suzanne Goin via Julia Child)
    Wine: A nice Viognier or California Red
    Dessert: Cherry Clafoutis or Baked Pears in Marsala Wine

    I’ve made all these things before but never all together, but if the stars would align and the time and friends were all available this would happen. All this food is fairly rustic and not the prettiest to look at, but amazingly good on a cold winters evening.

  • I am lucky enough to have already had my ideal dinner party. About eight cold-hearty friends and I picnicked at a nearby nature preserve with miles of trails. We started the party off by running through the woods on the trails with headlamps on. After a nice run, we returned to our picnic table nestled within the community gardens in the preserve. We had each brought a canned good to make hobo soup (for those who are unfamiliar with this dish, each person brings a canned good to unceremoniously add to a large pot, filled with everyone else’s contributions). Some friends had brought homemade bread, fermented and pickled items and we finished the night off with a bonfire! Slightly less glamorous than some people’s ideal dinner party, but it was absolutely perfect in my book.

  • My ideal dinner party would be consist of friends, family, board games, and a table full of winter comfort food!

  • My ideal winter party would have lots of beef stew, warm bread, and wine! For decorations, I would want flowers to remind us of spring and candles to keep the dinner feeling intimate. I would ask everyone to bring a dessert if possible so we could all share.

  • My ideal winter dinner party is cosy, simple and makes people never want to leave. I give everyone homemade quilts and blankets to snuggle in while we have some good quality red wine with decadent truffle cheese. The main course would be something like stuffed courgettes with fresh thyme, ground pork and quinoa. Then dessert – my famous (among my friends) whisky and white-chocolate bread and butter pudding!

  • Mmmm. I love making warm soup with crusty bread in the winter. It would be fun to have people over for French onion soup and have the Amelie soundtrack playing in the background.

    But I don’t know if anything could be more fun than a Burn’s Supper (celebrating the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns). We had a Burn’s Supper last month and everyone wore plaid, we served vegetarian haggis and other Scottish food, drank Scotch, and played bagpipes and poems from the Burns Night app on my iPhone.

  • My ideal winter dinner comes from living briefly in Spain. My host Madre religiously went to church, promptly came home and made fresh seafood paella every Sunday. Pair that with antique table linens, peonies hand painted onto the plates and a small glass of lightly chilled Albarino and you have it! An early-bed time also seemed to follow shortly thereafter…

  • My ideal winter dinner party usually involves activities! Start with a snowshoe across our frozen lake stopping to enjoy a thermos of a hot beverage like a spiked cocoa, then returning to a pot of chili (with all the fixings) and fresh baked-in-the-skillet cornbread! Capping the night off with a group game never hurts either. :)

  • I’m from an area that frequently encounters minus 40 weather so we love to fatten ourselves up with a good feast! My ideal dinner would combine amazing cuisine from both my husband’s family and mine. On the menu would be: ploye, a buckwheat flour pancake best served with butter and maple syrup; Mamere’s stew and dumplings, which is a hearty meal in itself; my baba’s perogies & perishke filled with potato and cabbage, respectively; my father-in-law’s ćevapčići, a mix of pork and beef all rolled into little sausage shapes; my mother-in-law’s uštipke, little round balls of dough with sugar sprinkled on them; and to wash it all down, some slivovitz, a plum brandy. A very heavy protein & carb meal that’s lacking in the veggie department, but that’s what gets us through the long winter!

  • I love doing themed dinner parties by picking a cookbook or a country to choose our dishes from. My kids love to get involved and choose something to make as well, so this means we have at least 4 different dishes to taste and enjoy, 5 if my husband wants to get in on the action. The last dinner party we had included my sisters and dad, and we each made a traditional dish (or three!) from a South American country of our choice. Eating this way has always been a great way to try new things and it was fun to learn a little about a new culture as well, and share it with one another.

  • My ideal dinner party for a cold winter day would be a hot potato bar followed by playing games and drinking adult hot coco.

  • Fondue parties are always my favorite winter event to host. I provide the cheese & chocolate, my husband macgyvers some “fondue pots” out of pyrex bowls, votive candles, and twisted coat hangers, and our friends pile in the door with their favorite dippables and a few good bottles of wine. It’s a cozy respite from the dreary outdoors.

  • My ideal cold weather dinner party would start off with a crisp winter salad, the main would just be a huge fattening bowl of french onion soup with extra crispy warm bread for dipping and followed by little chocolate puddings with fresh vanilla whipped cream and hot toddies.

    Thanks for making me hungry!

  • My ideal dinner party for a cold winter day:
    The only lighting would be the blazing of a fireplace, hanging strings of lantern-lights, and a small patchwork of well-placed candles.
    The chairs would be rustic wooden beauties, and the table set for eight. There would be a burgundy tablecloth and cream-colored napkins wrapped with faux vines.
    Red wine would flow, and the feast would consist of an herb-seasoned, oven-roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes with a dark gravy, mushrooms in a creamy wine sauce, green bean halves tossed with almond slivers, and lots of rolls and butter. Afterwards we would all sit by the fire sipping hot cider on a big fluffy rug while our Great Dane took turns snuggling with us all. ^-^

  • My ideal dinner party would be at my house, with every single one of my friends there for various soups and crusty bread varieties. We’d sit around the fireplace for drinks afterwards. Like, 100 of us.

  • my ideal dinner party for a cold winter day includes a classic venison chili with hot toddies to drink! dinner is followed by a Harry Potter marathon, knitting, cuddling under blankets, lots of candles (wood-burning fire if I had one), and popcorn with m&ms and puppy chow for constant snacking during those really intense quittage matches. THEN, it snows so much that everyone has to stay over and we wake up to make pancakes in the morning and watch more Harry Potter!

  • Lets see… A Gingery warming soup. A roaring fire, a couple drinks and some nice book discussion!

  • Casual but tasty pot roast; wonderful wine; a couple of patio heaters and the fire built in the outdoor chimney; dimmed string lights and a gathering of 6 to 8 people for a long night.

  • In the winter, I love soups and warm food that’s been roasting for hours in the crockpot! A dinner by the fire would be just lovely.

  • It’s not a dinner party, but it’s my ideal meal with friends in the winter: the morning after a heavy snow, gathering together to play or hike and then moving indoors to a warm and cozy home, and cooking and baking brunch together while laughing and chatting over tea.

  • I had the ideal winter dinner party recently while snowbound. It was an impromptu neighborhood potluck! While out shoveling my neighbor mentioned he had a pot of chili on the stove. I had just made an apple pie, so we decided to share, and invited a couple of other neighbors too. Everyone brought something made from whatever they had in the house as we couldn’t get out to the store. On a cold snowy night it was the perfect occasion to share food, drink, and good company.

  • Like me, most of my friends work in non-profit arts organizations. I love the idea of a wonderful Parisian get-away (a.k.a. a dinner party at my house with a great classic film, say “Les paraluies de Cherbourg”). As long as the food is delicious, the linens are eclectic, and candles are lit, it’s sure to be a great night! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I live in Rochester, NY, which is of course FREEZING at the moment. I find myself so beaten down by the cold around this type of year, so hosting a dinner party is honestly a great idea.

    My ideal cold-weather dinner party would include:

    1. A few good friends and a nice cozy dining room with big windows (so we can look out at the frozen tundra and be thankful we’re not outside in it).

    2. Craft beer tasting! Each guest brings a few bottles of their favorite/random/homemade craft beer that everyone can taste throughout the night.

    3. A meal of appetizers (since we already fill up on them anyways) Lamb burger sliders with tzatziki sauce, prosciutto wrapped figs, portabello mushroom pizzas, pork dumplings with citrus soy sauce, steamed edamame, spiced pecans, etc.!

    4. Dessert: Baklava. Because it’s the best.

    5. Winter bonfire (if it’s not sub-zero outside) or a night by the fireplace playing card games and enjoying life.

  • My ideal dinner party on a cold winter day would be simple and comforting. I would have a pot of delicious and creamy tomato soup on the stove, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and a lovely warm lentil salad with lots of flavor and fresh ingredients. Some spicy hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows would round out the evening as we sat around the fireplace playing charades to keep warm.

  • Those are the mussels I used to get at my favorite neighborhood French restaurant. I love that there’s a recipe for them!

  • Mariana and Heidi, I want a whole weekend getaway on the mountains with your dinners!

  • The ideal winter dinner party for me would be a combination of my closest friends and their favorite potluck contributions. I’d start off with my favorite butternut squash and apple soup and finish things off with a brown sugar bundt cake, but everything in between would be left to the talents and whims of my friends. They’re such excellent cooks, and every gathering should play to our collective strengths! It would be low key, and all about bringing people together over a joyous, community meal.

  • I love a winter get together by a fire with some nice red wine and good company. As for the meal, something hearty with a little spice, along the lines of my favorite indian-inspired meatballs over a hearty spaghetti squash.

  • My ideal dinner party for this dreary month might not technically be considered dinner, but is fabulous nonetheless. It involves a couple of my favorite girlfriends, the movies Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, some decadently rich hot chocolate and freshly popped popcorn topped with parmigiana reggiano. Now that is the way to get through the last of winter!

  • I was obsessed with watching “Little Paris Kitchen” when we lived in the UK, and have had the book on my wishlist for months! So happy to see it featured here today. My favorite dinner party in the winter is shepherd’s pie made with lamb, cooked in a cast iron skillet. For dessert, Molly from Orangette’s “winning hearts and minds” cake is universally loved.

  • Ideal=
    Good friends/family , roaring fire, magnum(s) Chateau-Neuf-de-pape, goat cheese salad with champagne raspberry dressing, cassoulet, chocolate mousse, great conversations, followed by a game of “Fact or Crap”

  • Ideal winter dinner party : warm friends old and new, gut holding laughter, plates strait from the kitchen eaten family style, fresh bread, choice wine, light music, good stories and joyful memories. Now who wouldn’t want that?

  • coq au vin, some good french bread, and amazing friends at a huge table with candlelight and grooving music.

  • I’ve been wanting to have a cold-weather dinner party with a bread and soup theme. Who doesn’t want soup when it’s so cold out? And bread is always delicious…

  • My ideal party for winter would include wine, hearty soups, crusty bread, and plenty of melty cheese :) Thanks for the fab giveaway!

  • I love all the traditional wintry foods like beef stew with red wine and cooked beets. BUT one of the ultimate comfort foods for me is chicken tikka masala. Start with naan and samosas, tikka for the main, and rice pudding for dessert. There is nothing like rich flavors and a little bit of spiciness to warm you up!

  • My ideal dinner party is now a memory:
    Christmas Eve
    Dear old friend and his dear Italian companion
    a fish mousse
    light salad
    the gift of his wife’s pin to wear for the holidays
    different ages connecting
    thank you

  • Pottery mugs brimming with rich beef stew or creamy potato soup. Thick slices of warm, chewy bread & butter. Domes of cold cheese and fresh fruits. A roaring bonfire and warm blankets, candles and wine, roses and soft music…. All of my loved ones enjoying carmel apple tarte tatin baked in my grandma’s cast iron skillet, with fresh custard ice cream that we’ve made together, spilling rock salt and laughter in equal measure.

  • My winter dinner party would have butternut squash soup in mini bread bowls for a starter, a savory wild mushroom arugula herb lasagna, washing it all down with red wine. It would be blustery outside, and small candles would fill the room. Baked apples stuffed with raisins and chased with hot toddies end the meal.

  • My winter dinner party would have a cassoulet with crusty bread, a cinnamon infused chai and a chocolate mousse.

  • My winter dinner party starts with french onion soup, cheesy bread, green salad with passion fruit dressing and apple pie.

  • Nothing says cheer to me more than brunch! My ideal brunch party would be a comforting mix of little bites of delicious cheeses, some good jams, a homey quiche or even just really great bagels with some yummy spreads. Serve it all up on a cold but bright sunny winter morning and you’ll forget the frozen temperatures outside!

  • My ideal dinner party for winter would involve good friends, sitting by the fire, and a meal that everyone could help put together and have a hand in the final product.. Something fun like topping your own baked potatoes with lots of creative combinations, or making flatbread pizzas in the pizza oven (again, with lots of inventive topping combos). Mmmmm…like roasted butternut squash pizza with feta and red onions. And plenty of wine and desserts, of course! I like to make dinner party menus easy and flexible so that those with different diets can enjoy together!!

  • I feel like a potluck would be such a comfort during the winter. Have each person bring a hearty dish so we can keep cozy and warm all together!

  • A beef consume, followed by boeuf bourgignon, with a fresh salad of seasonal leaves with a dressing of olive oil, vinegar and garlic and paprika, followed by freshly made apple crumble with thick custard, followed by a collection of good cheeses and cured meats on rye bread accompanied by some good bottles of red wine and bottles of sparkling water water. Afterwards people can have a choice of either cupts of good freshly ground cafetiere coffee or tisanes…but this is during the wee hours of the morning when people have to face the blustering cold outside after many hours of fun, laughter, hilarity and good company.

  • I’d choose some of my favorite literary friends to meet for a wonderful night of conversation, food, wine, and laughter.
    A simple soup to start, a one pot roasted meal with crusty bread, an apple tart for dessert. Good comfort food.
    I’d use my vintage china, new wine glasses, and select just the right candles and flowers.
    We have dinner regularly for friends – about once a week- but a party where you introduce new people to each other is an occasion that calls for more planning. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would be a really intimate gathering of the people closest to me. The food would be a good home made lasagne with garlic bread. And for desert something hot from the oven, like a fruit crumble or a self-saucing chocolate pudding (one of my childhood favourites) with thick cream.
    And, if we’re going into specifics here, it would be storming outside (thunder, pouring rain, wild wind) because that kind of weather always makes me want to cuddle up with comforts like family and food.

  • My ideal cold-weather dinner party would be — Wait. let me set the scene first:
    Tea light candles sparkling through mercury glass votives set atop on a deep navy linen table cloth. Soft light emanating from an overhead chandelier. Clean white vintage dishes and shiny antique silver would complete the color scheme reminiscent of a clear winter sky at midnight. Clean, simple, thematic, but also welcoming. Nothing too snooty so that people feel comfortable to gather, open up, and enjoy some good conversation and food.

    Now the food & drink (the things that, let’s face it, brings us all together in the first place).

    – Wine
    – A silky, creamy winter soup. I’m thinking cauliflower.
    – Warm rosemary bread with Kerrygold butter
    – Entree of herb de provence and truffle salt encrusted prime rib with fresh grated horseradish, along with sauteed brussels sprouts and pecans.
    – Kale salad with pine nuts, dried cranberries, tossed in a citrus vinaigrette
    – Dessert! At a dinner party, it is my firm belief that you must have multiple desserts so that people have options (oh, and so you can have more than one). In this case I am going with: dark chocolate bourbon pecan pie (my recipe), red velvet cake w/cream cheese icing, creme brulee, and assortment of fresh raspberries and blackberries on the side

  • My New Year’s Resolution this year is to host one dinner party a month for two reasons – one: to use all the amazing kitchen tools my mother has bought for me throughout the years that I never use, and two: to be with people that I always say I want to meet up with but never do. So far I have had two and they have been really special. I invited college friends to my first and since it was January meat and potatoes, chocolate cake and red wine made that menu. The second was actually a brunch for my aunts and uncles which included scones, a quiche and mimosas. All I can say is this is one New Year’s Resolution I have loved working to keep.

  • I like a brunch with the ladies…pink champaign with strawberries, scrambled egg muffins, cinnamon rolls, coffee (maybe with kahlua), and maybe even some sangria if we linger, which we always do..

  • I’ve been wanting to have an indoor camping dinner party. Since I live in a small Chicago apartment, I would clear all the furniture out of my living room and have floor pillows for my friends to sit on. I would put a bunch of candles on a plate in the middle of the room to act as a campfire. I think I would serve stovetop popcorn in tin cans as an appetizer, green chile stew eaten out of those big tin camping mugs for dinner, and obviously s’mores for dessert. Bonus points if I could hang fabric to make the room look like the inside of a tent or get my friends to tell scary stories like they’re in the midnight society!

  • This is amazingly beautiful. We are going to Paris in May and I can already taste the food. Can’t wait to bring back ideas for a dinner party of my own, and this book would definitely help!

  • my winter definately needs nice french wine, lots of candles, friends, smooth music, and for food… well, i’d love to be inspired be khoo’s book! :)

  • Gathering my friends in my new, modest bungalow, is a great way to get through the cold winter with wine and cheese and laughter. I’d love to win this book. I just love to learn other ways and recipes to host a party

  • I live in a neighborhood that looses electricity every time it rains so every time there’s a significant storm some portion of neighbors loose power for a few days or more. We’ve all gotten in the habit of getting together for meals at a home where there IS power. Everyone brings whatever is in the refrigerator since it’s going to go bad anyway and we have an enormous neighborhood pot luck. A major storm usually causes a school closure so in addition to the initial roll up our sleeves we can survive this adrenaline rush, there’s an air of vacation about the whole thing. Food, drink, and most importantly people. (Oh, when it was my house without power for a week, we stayed at a neighbor’s who insisted we bring our dog so she wouldn’t freeze. She was thrilled to play with her best friend’s dog toys. She got to feel the celebratory feeling too.)

  • Pie-themed! Homemade pizzas for dinner, a nice fruit pie for dessert, and a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit when everyone’s sauced enough to think they’re the smartest person alive.

  • I think I would probably go with french cooking too, a nice boeuf bourguignon from Julia Child’s recipe, perfect for warming up on a chilly night

  • I think my ideal dinner party was my 25th birthday. I invited friends from a variety of circles to enjoy an array of cheeses, nibbles and drinks. I baked my own birthday cake- two dozen salted caramel cupcakes, complete with a chocolate cookie moustache on top just to keep things cheeky! The best memory of the night was that it was the first time I had all my friends from over the years in the one room- many meeting each other for the first time!

  • A warm lentil and spinach soup, followed by raclette. Like fondue, raclette’s a social dish, with loads of tiny side dishes you need to keep passing around :) Dessert would be warm carrot halwa served with vanilla ice cream. and of course, red wine/glühwein to keep the conversation flowing and after dinner, card games :)

  • My ideal dinner party is sharing raclette with 8 friends. Raclette is a Swiss invention where each dinner party guest receives a little pan of his own. Then the creativity starts. You can pile your pan with mushrooms, corn, artichokes, bacon, pepper, onions, garlic (the list goes on and on) and then top it off with a piece of raclette cheese. Then the fun begins. Now place it under the grill of the raclette until your cheese is just right. Mmmm. Serve atop boiled potatoes. This meal lasts for hours because you just can’t stop. An interactive meal with good friends and wine takes the chill of a cold February evening.

  • I would go for a french onion soup, a crispy tart (with caramelized red onion and goat cheese) and a carrot cake. Yum, i love those mornings. Norah Jones playing blended with the smell of good cooked food

  • The best winter dinner parties are the ones my neighbor Paula invites me to. I moved to Ottawa, Canada and didn’t know a soul and there she was at my door with a shy smile and her beautiful accent asking me to come join her and her boyfriend for dinner. Paula is from Lyons, France, but grew up in Madagascar so her cooking is unique — she is always pulling one dish or another out of the oven or from the top of the stove — smokey, sweet, and savory all combined in one shiny copper pot. There is salad, crusty bread and cheese, red wine in short little glasses, then poached pears and cognac to end the meal. Often to get to Paula’s I must trudge through waist high drifts of snow which makes stepping into the embrace and cheer of her home feel a bit like you are arriving after a great trek. Paula doesn’t have a car and doesn’t shovel her driveway — and this is the twist to my story — Paula travels all across our snowy Capital on her bicycle in the bitter cold of our deepest winter days to shop for her dinner ingredients. What a gift her her friendship, and her warming meals have been to me. If I should win this cookbook, surely I will hold a dinner party for her.

  • What an amazing post, all my favourite things, good food and great settings. I love that its all really easy to do as well. My favourite winter dinner party is a gathering of good friends with some home cooked food and plenty of chatter! I would probably go for a coq au vin if I was cooking and some good red wine and a full on chocolate dessert like Nigella’s molten chocolate baby cakes with a raspberry coulis and loads of cream!!!

  • I have so many fond memories of growing up on a farm and our dinner parties consisted of family and friends. The winter was a quite time for the farmer, a time for time and a time for our family and friends. As my mother was a wonderful cook and everything was fresh and very natural but surprisingly elegant. You see my mother was from the south and my father from the north but we lived in the north but with all the southern traditions. She brought grace, a love of food and a spirit of hospitality to every social occasion. So our meals could have been as simple as shrimp and grits or as elaborate as a beef Wellington……you just never knew with Miss Elizabeth.

  • A perfect winter dinner party for me would be a huge pot of soup and my family gathered to enjoy it and some great conversation. For dessert we’ve have a cobbler of some kind and some coffee. Then maybe some games and hot cocoa.

  • I just bought a house with a fantastic stone fireplace, so I’ve been daydreaming of setting up a table before a fire with a rustic tablecloth and beautiful white dishes. I would serve something southern and comforting. like fried chicken with mashed potatoes, kale greens, and stewed tomatoes. For dessert there would be a sweet pecan pie with a dollop of fresh vanilla whipped cream. And, knowing my friends, we would clear the table to play games afterward, all while enjoying a lovely glass of bourbon on the rocks.

  • I know you want to hear my idea of the perfect winter party, but. . .i thought if I had this book how fun it would be to create a Paris themed birthday party for my 6 yr old daughter. She is obsessed with everything Paris. I can picture the kids coming to the party wearing berets and eating food created from this book while sitting at a French Cafe or Bistro with music playing in the background. Thank you for this opportunity to win a copy of this book.

  • I love this new feature! What a great idea.
    I have Rachel Khoo’s book, I bought it last summer after watching her programme on BBC last Spring. Great recipes and easy too. It would make for a great gift for friends!
    I also loved that tiny Eiffel Tower made out of a of copper wire. So clever and creative you guys!
    My ideal dinner party would be a casual dinner with friends with a nice theme like from a movie or a certain culture.

  • The perfect dinner party is camping out in the middle of floor . The coffee table is covered with libations and homemade soul and asian food. The night is full of laughter, watching movies and reminiscing about old times

  • What a fun new feature!
    My ideal winter dinner party is simple, warm, and fun. I make pizza dough and pizza sauce, grate some cheese, and have a few toppings on hand. Then, everyone else brings a favorite pizza topping. We don’t know what we’ll make until everyone arrives. Then, we put the toppings together in inventive ways, have salad and drinks while the pizza bakes, and enjoy our creative pizza. Yum! Fun!

  • A winter dinner party should be cozy but simple (and French-accented doesn’t hurt)–roast chicken with a rich cauliflower gratin and brussels sprouts sauteed with lardons, and an apple tart to finish. Oh, and lots of red wine.

  • I’d love to spend a cold winter Saturday preparing a hearty, simple meal for close friends. Gougeres, crudites, and a cheese plate for appetizers… something warm and filling for dinner… and tiny little desserts… with chocolate of course! In my cozy little Philadelphia apartment.

    Yes, please… and soon!

  • My ideal winter dinner party (and actually me and my husband have been doing it several times for the last 3 years since we love cooking and it is so much fun!) is having friends over early in the afternoon, and having chosen the previous dinner party a random Country from around the world, making it a theme for a gourmet dinner party where every couple gets to choose and cook a course inspired by the chosen Country, from appetizers to dessert and drinks. Nothing beats spending an awesome time with people you love and venturing to learn to cook and enjoy new delicious things.

  • Soup, board games and craft beer. Lots of warm bread, and cheese. Candles. Friends. Pie.

  • My perfect winter dinner party would be something to inspire and remind us of warm days to come – so I’d break out the margaritas and sangria, invite some old friends, and share some laughs over a plethora of delicious tacos! A little dance party would probably ensue while we’re warm and toasty inside and watching the snow fall outside.

  • Choosing a dinner party can be quite overwhelming because there is so much to choose from and you want to make sure all of our guests like the idea as much as you do so that they are open to the experience. Something I’ve been dying to try is a Moroccan dinner party and highlight authentic dishes from the culture. The party wouldn’t be just about the food, but about the culture and atmosphere. My dining room would be transformed with dim lighting, pillows and a low table. It would be vibrant in color and filled with candles, yet provide all guests with calmness and peace. Ideally, it would be fun to have a few costume pieces so that guests are given the opportunity to dress the part and be comfortable in this Moroccan environment.

  • Oh, how fun! I love winter antidotes! A winter dinner party must include a lit fireplace, homemade bread, a pot roast, wine, and homemade pie for dessert. Cue some Norah Jones or Piano Guys as well!

  • Hmm…hmm…something to help us forget about the chill! I’d turn up the heat and put out lots of Spanish tapas, throw on some lively flamenco, and ensure that the sangria was free flowing. And have a giant cauldron of paella in the middle of the living room! (This is our dream party, right?) Guests would include my best friend from college with whom I traveled in Spain, my other best friends who have never been to Spain but would love to go, and the superstars that we all admire…maybe Susan Sontag, Carrie Mulligan, and some really thoughtful young musicians…like Julia Holter, perhaps? Warm lighting, great conversation…probably ladies only? Ahh my, I want to have this party tonight!

  • You can’t beat a cheesey (in all senses of the word) fondue on a winter’s day. Gooey, melty, cheesey, warming loveliness and great for sharing with your closest friends who you don’t care if they see you dribble cheese all over your self!!

  • I love having dinner parties for a small group of friends. Children in bed, good food (this is where we try out new recipes), some nice wine and great conversation. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

  • My ideal dinner party was actually a few weeks ago. My parents, siblings and their spouses, and me and my boyfriend all had a wonderful family dinner at my parents. My mom made some of our favorite Mexican dishes including her famous, made from scratch, flour tortillas. My brother made us Pina Coladas, which aren’t your typical winter drink, but they were still delicious and we all talked about where we wanted to go on vacation. It was so lovely to have a few hours to catch up with each other and enjoy a meal together.

  • Love the post! And can’t wait to get the book! I recently had a friend and her son over for an informal dinner on Presidents Day. We had “fancy” Mac and Cheese. Great for a winter evening! Thank you for the post!

  • Hello! I love Rachel Khoo and her Parisien little Kitchen…
    I used to watch her videos also when I was working becuase the tiles of the kitchen and her french touch cooking was really charming.
    I think the ideal dinner party looks perfect the way you propose it..
    If I had to set a dinner party I would love jsut a few friends gathered around my table with veggies and exotic dishes to taste altogheter…I love to “use” friends to try new recipes…;-)
    Thanks for the chance to entering this giveaway!
    Ciao ciao

  • The Palmier recipe seems to be incomplete? I would love to try but need to know baking time, thanks!

  • My ideal dinner party will have a lot of hot delicious food with some scrumptious indulging desserts. I am thinking soups, baked dinners

  • I have had that book for a few months and it is AMAZING!! I never thought that I would at some point in my life make boeuf bourguignon and actually enjoy it. Awesome giveaway and congrats to whoever wins- you are in for a real treat!

  • My perfect dinner party would be on a cold winter night, the fire would be roaring, we’d start with an aperitif of home-made walnut wine (vin de noix), and a starter of French Onion Soup which the old ladies in my village say used to be considered essential eating the morning after a wedding! Then we’d have a classic beef bourgignon accompanied by baguettes and a good red wine. To finish I would make a chocolate hazelnut crepe (pancake) cake and a cheese board with French greats like Camembert, brie and maroilles from the north of France and we’d talk nonsense and set the world to rights in my kitchen!

  • This is just lovely! And I’d love to win the cookbook! My favorite wintertime dinner party meal is homemade bread (lots of butter and maybe garlic on top) and a roast chicken, and probably all the veggies from my CSA!

  • My ideal party would be my family and I cozied up in sweats with something warm and hearty!

  • My ideal dinner party would include a roomful of girlfriends, all talking, sharing, laughing. There would multiple conversations going on at once and all of our hearts would be full with big smiles all around.

  • I dream of a dinner party where my fiance and I would invite my brother (currently serving in the Army Special Forces and unable to attend his sister’s dinner parties), his girlfriend, and our two favorite friends. We would serve cheese fondue, Ina Garten’s chicken bouillabaisse with warm, crusty bread for soaking up the amazing broth, and s’mores for dessert! Then we would enjoy the company in front of the roaring fire while sipping mulled wine. I’m hoping my dream will be a reality sometime soon!

  • I plan on moving from New York to Montana sometime this year. My idea dinner party would be the first time my parents come to visit me at my new place. Since it will mostly be snowing and cold I’d probably make a delicious stew like my dad used to make with some fresh bread, or maybe pasta since it’s my mom’s favorite. Either way the food will hopefully be great, my place will look cute and my parents will be proud that their little girl is finally making a life for herself :)

  • Recipe for a Dinner Party for One:

    One bowl of French Onion Soup, caramelized and broiled to perfection
    One blanket
    One sofa
    One season of Downton Abbey re-runs (other titles are substitutable)

    Make soup from newly acquired French cookbook. Sit down with soup on couch. Insert DVD and hit “Play All” on DVD menu. Repeat as necessary.

  • My ideal dinner party would include a travel blogger, a sassy gay man or men, alpha females, a bunch of people who do improv, some artists, and a straight aussie bearded fellow. We would sit around a table in candle light that’s filled with finger foods (olives, savory pastries, pasta, CHEESE) and various drinks (RED WINE, duh.) We would laugh at each others comments and sing a long to 80s tunes playing from Spotify. We would get happy sloppy. The night would end with hugs, bread crumbs, and wine stains. At the end, I am happy with my decision to clean the table in the morning.

  • I think pulled pork sandwiches are good when it’s cold outside plus they’re easy!

  • Crockpot pot luck! Warm food and minimal effort provides more time under warm blankets and a good movie!

  • For the past several years, my good friends and I get together at every chance for a dinner party. We first met each other in college and were immediately inseparable. We hosted our first dinner party together as a group of single ladies who needed a Valentines day distractions.

    Over the years each of us have moved, become busy with work, made new friends, got married or had kids. What was once five girlfriends is now a hodgepodge of boyfriends, husbands, kids, and each other. And, since we rarely get the chance to sit together and spend time together like we did in college, I have taken up the torch to I host our “family dinner party” every chance I get.

    Living in a tiny studio apartment makes hosting this growing hoard of friends and family quite the magic act. Yet, the parties always manage to be brimming with friends, food, drinks, and conversation.

    This winter was the best dinner party yet. I pushed all the furniture of my studio apartment to the side walls and constructed a long dining table down the center out of desks and side tables. Within a matter of minutes after the first arrival of friends, the table was filled with candles, flowers, wines, and an assortment of foods. Everyone had arrive with their kids and spouses in tow, bringing with them their unique contribution to our gypsy-style dinner party.

    There were goat cheese soufflés, Swahili style chicken, Pakistani biryani, pancet, beet salad, cakes, and all manner of other goodies. As I looked around the table at the accumulation of people that now populate these parties, I realized that our food and our conversation reflect the diverse tapestry that our group of friends have become. Every single one of us is a different race, religion, age, political-affiliation, and culture. We come from all over but yet when we get together we are bonded by all the dinner parties that have come before and all the dinner parties yet to come. It is our love of food and this breaking of bread that keeps us the same close bonded group that we were all those years ago.

  • I don’t think I could do the outdoor winter picnic, I don’t like the cold very much, so an indoor picnic spread out on the living room floor would be lovely!

  • I love the simplicity of the decor and food! My dearest friend and her husband just bought a ranchito in Santa Ynex and this lovely cookbook, twine wrapped lights and linens would be a great house warming gift for their grotto along with wine from the Santa Ynez Valley!

    I would love this charming book for myself as well!

    Thanks you for sharing!

  • Outside it’s freezing, big snowflakes are falling from the sky and at my home you can smell the gasman stew* baking in the oven. The doorbell rings and our best friends with rosy cheeks and some snow in their hair come in. We pour some Madeira wine and sip it waiting for the stew to be ready. The stew is on the table, so are some fresh greens, more wine and chocolate and banana cupcakes are also going to be served. We reminisce old times, play jenga (which is especially funny after some time of wine sipping ;) or other games.

    *the gasman stew – tomatoes, beef, onions, carrots, oranges, potatoes, delicious!

  • my ideal winter dinner party would consist of something warm that’s been in the slow cooker all day, hot toddies, ugly sweaters, and a “roaring” fire on the TV (thanks to netflix!)

  • do you have a source for the linens? those fabulous napkins, in particular?

  • If we’re talking ideal then… A weekend trip away from the city with a small number of dear friends… to the coast! In the same vein of Grace’s wintry camping love, there is something magical about a beach in desolate winter. The cold sea spray can almost convince me that I’m on a whaling ship fighting the storm right alongside Captain Ahab. Epic. So… after a day spent hiking around sand dunes and adventuring, we would be so ready for a warm fireside dinner of simple, earthy comforts. Classy but informal. A huge pot of Cioppino. A rustic salad. Cheese and figs. Hot toddy and wine. Everyone helping prepare because half of the fun of a dinner happens in the kitchen. Good stories around the table. Celebrating the adventures of the day. Dreaming and scheming for days to come. Maybe a poem or song shared. Then possibly a beach-side bonfire as the night lingers on.

  • In the wintertime, I like to take advantage of the indoor hours with some dishes that require some prep and finesse. My dinner party would celebrate a farmer’s harvest. Grilled eggplant salad, Leek and potato soup garnished with oysters, a 3-day brined and roasted pork belly served over parsnip puree, and goat curd served with thawed red berries from the freezer, dusted with sugar for dessert. Lots of wine and brandy to keep everyone warm :) A long table set outdoors under heaters with lots of lanterns and wool blankets would be a dream!

  • winter dinner….well a soup with a root vegetable like turnips perhaps (was a big success at christmas), a most wonderful french beef and carrot stew, and then a spicy baked apple dessert with the last of the lovelies we picked in the autumn. well, that sounds like a wonderful plan for tomorrow’s dinner even if i dont win the book! LOL.

  • My ideal dinner party would be very casual, but right now I am trying to put together a french dinner party in my mind, what I should serve as I have volunteered to have a dinner party at our house as a fund raiser for our city sister program with a town outside of Paris. Thank you for such lovely ideas!

  • The ideal winter dinner party for me is being surrounded by good friends. I’m lucky enough to host a monthly dinner party with some friends to ensure we spend time together. There are four of us in the core group with room for two “floaters” every month. The waiting list is getting long…last month was a classic wedge salad, fennel crusted pork tenderloin, armenian rice and broccoli & carrots. Dessert? cherry fruit crisps (hand picked in the summer and frozen) with honey-sour cream ice cream. Yum….

  • I love me some comfort food so my ideal dinner party would be a nice hearty tomato soup with some gourmet grilled cheese and perhaps some truffle french fries. I would top it off with some homemade tomato sorbet ice cream with a little balsamic drizzle as garnish.

  • My ideal dinner party came true! I’m raising money for Northwestern University’s Dance Marathon, a 30-hour dance party that raises over $1 million each year. I threw a fundraising dinner party for 6 friends, and for $20 each they had a Brussels sprout salad, polenta gnocchi, and a warm pumpkin/gingerbread tart! Lots of wine, laughter, and it was all for a good cause!

  • The ideal winter dinner party is with close friends that love all food and have no allergies, the menu is simple but delicious and can be prepared ahead of time so I can enjoy my friends, the table settings are all personable to my guests, the fireplace is going, and the entertainment is the laughter coming from full tummies.
    PS, I love Rachel Khoo!!! If you ever wanna do a “win a date with Rachel Khoo” I’m totally in! :o)

  • My ideal menu for a winter dinner party would include steak topped w/ mushrooms & onions, potatoes, a green veggie of sorts followed by a simple salad and scrumptious dessert.

  • a carpeted cozy home with candles, mellow jazz music, christmas lights (and dimmed regular lights) with my closest friends would make the perfect dinner party. we would cook together – comfort foods like roasted chicken, mac and cheese, and grilled vegetables. simple yet warming. top off with dessert – tiramisu and hot chocolate.

  • My ideal dinner party on a cold day is a gathering of friends for wine, chili, cornbread, and board games. Throw in a fire in the fireplace to add some coziness.

  • What a lovely giveaway!
    My ideal cold weather dinner party would be simple & classic picnic indoors. Sandwich au jambon with goat cheese & olive oil on a demi baguette, fresh mandarins, and a wine with a close friend

  • I have a dinner party for my family every Monday called, Monday Night Dinner…I know original. It is my rendition of Sunday meals at Grandma’s house that used to happen back in the day. We have about 10-12 people (4 of them kids) that crowd my house to be the highlight of anyone’s start of the week. Recently I have been experimenting with homemade rustic breads out of my dutch oven. So my meals have revolved around sauces, butters and marmalade to highlight my new obsession. The most recent favorite for this crowd has been Buttered Tomato Sauce Pasta with Homemade Roasted Garlic Rustic Bread with Balsamic Dipping Sauce and a Chilled Green Bean and Feta Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette. The kids asked for seconds and the adults licked their plates. It’s a great tradition I hope my kids remember fondly once they have a family of their own.

  • my ideal winter dinner would close friends, beaucoup blankets! and yummy soups, warm drinks and the right amount of slow cooked meats to knock your socks off. There would be lots of roasted veggies to accomodate everyones tastes. Everything would be warm, cozy, serene and peaceful. Coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, haricot verts…the works!! Backgroud music would consist of french classics serge gainsberg, and bridget bardot. Lots of fun with the people I love.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would include a warm fire, great company, french onion soup + garlic bread + creme brulee and a vanilla latte :)

  • My ideal winter dinner would be making Chinese won tons with my immediate family!

  • It seems mary beth and i think alike – a big pot of chili on the stove w/ cornbread made in a cast iron skillet to get nicy and crisy and a big pan of brownies to round out the meal. Who said dinner parties had to be fancy?! Also, everyone would wear pj pants or other fav elastic-waisted pants!

  • Let’s begin with a fire in the fireplace, and lots of red wine. Dinner starts with a mixed green salad – raddicchio, arugula, frisee, watercress, and baby spinach with a walnut oil, red wine vinegar and honey vinaigrette, topped off with warm goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Followed by my French great grandmother’s meat pie – pork, beef, and spices baked in a bread dough crust – it’s wonderful! Dessert is simple – some fruit and cheese accompanied by another glass of wine!

  • I am so excited to get my hands on this book! I’ve been inspired to have a little party inviting people who don’t know each other but would benefit from it. I read Erin’s post on Design for Mankind about this topic and its been bumping around my head ever since. I love the idea of a fun way to “network” (a word that scares me).

  • My very unique husband has a winter birthday. Each year we get together with neighbors to celebrate the event. Every year I select a theme for the party and this year it’s come as Matt. Guests will bring a pot luck dish to share and come dressed as the guest of honor.We all look forward to this annual winter dinner party to escape NH cabin fever season.

  • The book looks lovely. I would only change one thing about the lovely dinner – bring it outside! I live in Honolulu, where it’s always warm enough to dine outdoors in “winter”

  • Glad to see that I’m not the only one who likes tarnished silverware, adds so much character . Being of French descent I’m loving this post.

  • Winter dinner party–small group of very best friends, a view of a windswept ocean, crackling fire,
    French onion soup, crusty loaf of bread, wine and lots of laughter.

  • My ideal winter dinner is soup, hot bread, and a gooey dessert. And of course, hot chocolate too!

  • Oh I love Rachel Khoo. We loved watching her series. She’s a fabulous cook!
    A wintery dinner party has to have a frosty narnia theme. Fur coats, fir branches and Turkish delight essential.

  • I think I’d made Coq au Vin (I love the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen) or chicken noodle soup. Either one would be warm and comforting.

  • beef and cheddar stew under a puffpastry lid with a green salad with capers and white wine vinaigrette – pots de creme for dessert!

  • This post is darling! I love french food all year.

    However, comfort foods warm my heart for a winter dinner party – individual meatloafs/quinoa loafs, blue mac and cheese, sauteed garlic-y kale or roasted brussel sprouts (or both) would work for my friends.

    Of course none of this food would be right without low lights, plenty of red wine, whiskey cocktails and a killer playlist.

  • My cold weather comfort meal is a vegetable pot pie with a puff pastry top. YUM!

  • Hands down, a roast chicken, carrots, and potatoes with gravy. Homemade chocolate pudding and homemade vanilla pudding for dessert.

  • I like to cook up my grandpa’s coveted Spaghetti sauce recipe. It takes all day to cook and it always pleases the taste buds. Our whole family looks forward to it. We usually have a salad as well as some good bread with the spaghetti dinner. MmmmMmmm

  • Winter dining in Texas is al fresco on the deck with a fire in the chimeinea, candles on the table, cold Shiner beer, grilled chicken thighs, fresh guac, lots of sides, and sopapilla cupcakes for dessert. Must. Call. Friends

  • can’t wait to dig into this book.

    i love trattoria comfort food for a wintry dinner fete. rustic hand tossed pizzas, a simple green salad, and platters of italian ham, boconccini, roasted red peppers, and tomatoes. bellisimo! turn up the volume on italian opera, and let the prosecco flow.


  • Ideal winter dinner party: lots of wine, roasted meat of some sort with some hearty veggies. All of my favorite people having a good time and enjoying one another’s company. Who could ask for anything better? :)

  • I once threw a girls nite party and we had fondue, it was fun, easy and delicious… warmed us inside and out ;)

    Thanks for the ideas I just adore the twisted wire Eiffel Towers, such a cute touch.

  • pizza party…the oven warms up the kitchen, it’s easy to accommodate everyone’s food preferences, and it’s always super casual…most of the eating occurs around the counter as the pizzas come out of the oven to be cut.

  • Wintertime is Razor Clam season in the Pacific Northwest. We like to round up a bunch of friends to rent a beach cabin, and after an evening dig in fog and mist, there’s nothing like warming up with some whiskey drinks, followed by clam chowder and fresh baked bread.

  • Looks Delicious! I will have to try the mussels recipe. For a winter dinner party, I would love to play with having a soup bar.

  • We throw dinner parties all year long and sometimes I think the winter ones are best. Everyone loves a one pot dinner of some sort of comfort food like a hearty beef barley soup or a braised brisket. We’ve also been known to fire up our charcoal grill in the snow for filet mignon atop a farro risotto. Mmmmm….

  • Growing up in Florida, I’ve brought my ideal winter dinner party all the way to my current home in NYC…the oyster roast! Simple, rustic, delicious. Throw a bushel of oysters on the grill, line your table with plastic and newspaper and everyone rolls up their sleeves to shuck and dip the oysters in drawn butter or a minette sauce. I usually serve homemade clam chowder and a big green salad. Bottles of Prosecco and a meyer lemon tart for dessert. You could go all out with the nautical theme, but I tend to keep it simple so I can enjoy being with my guests.

  • Here in Munich our ideal dinner party for a cold and snowy bavarian winter day is always:

    * friends!
    * Ruinart rosé champagne as aperitif
    * raclette with swiss cheese, potatoes, salami, mushrooms, pepperoni….(easy to prepare and nice to sit around for ages and talk while everybody mixes his own little raclette pans) + heavy red wine
    * grapefruit filets with some pralines for desert
    * go skiing the next day ( cause the appartment smells like a smokehouse afterwards ha!)

    Best regards from the alps! Nina

  • I have crepe parties on occasion, and they invariably turn out to be warmer and more intimate dinner parties than any sit-down affair. A select group of great friends all hob-knobbing in the kitchen as I flip out buckwheat-bock and traditional batter crepes (I’ve grown deft at manning two pans at once!), a table laden with premade fillings, sauces, and additions, and copious amounts of wine: perfect ingredients for a great evening.

  • I have crepe parties on occasion, and they invariably turn out to be warmer and more intimate dinner parties than any sit-down affair. A select group of great friends all hob-knobbing in the kitchen as I flip out buckwheat-bock and traditional batter crepes (I’ve grown deft at manning two pans at once!), a table laden with premade fillings, sauces, and additions, and copious amounts of wine: perfect ingredients for a great evening.

  • In NEW ORLEANS, my favorite winter dinner party includes Chicken and Andouille GUMBO along with roasted sweet potatoes! Comfort food at it’s best! Warms your body and your SOUL.

  • After shoveling tons of fresh snow, pull a lovely meal of roast chicken and veges from the oven, pour a glass of wine and have the electricity go out so we absolutely must eat by candlelight.

  • Once for my birthday, which falls in January so it’s always cold, I threw a dinner party with a chili bar and whisky bar. I made all kinds of veggie and meat chili options and stocked up a bar with all kinds of great whisky. I had sides like corn bread and condiments for the chili like sour cream, cheese, and hot sauce. It was a blast and was a good cold-weather dinner party to warm you right up!

  • For the perfect winter dinner, I have two go-to meals: 1. A one-pot meal of black beans (simmered in stock with garlic, peppercorns and a bay leaf all day so that they’re soft as butter by dinner), diced onions, diced carrots and hunks of kielbasa sausage, liberally seasoned with pepper, paprika, sage and a dollop of honey for richness. 2. Melted Raclette, buttered new potatoes, and good German veal sausages + loads of small sweet/spicy/vinegary sides to balance out the yummy richness of the main dished including mashed garlic-y /romano cheese-y cauliflower, gherkins, homemade sweet vinegar cucumber chips, spicy garlic kale chips, and apple sauce. Both are the perfect comfort food for a late winter meal with friends. . .

  • My ideal winter dinner party would be a hot bowl of meaty chili, homemade cornbread, and a nice cold glass of beer. . Top it off with some friends and a fire in the fireplace and you have comfort food at its best!

  • The view from our treehouse is spectacular… ocean, conifers, and mountains. In late summer I plan to have a small dinner party with close friends on the roof. After moving in together last summer and some needed upkeep the little house should finally be ready for guests!
    We will set up supper on some big blankets with pillows, use the handblown glasses from Mexico, my wheelthrown pottery, my favorite blue and green tablecloth, and decorate little vases of forest greens and nasturtiums.
    I think the menu will include…
    Alaskan King Salmon baked with olive oil
    Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Chives
    An Enormous Mixed Green Salad… spinach, kale, lettuce, tomato, the works
    Cheesecake with Lemon Curd and strawberries
    Blueberry Margaritas

  • Our family’s ideal winter dinner? Outside on our porch by the flowing river! We make candle holders out of ice, pine, and berries, the day before and light candles in them. We turn on the white lights over the porch and we bundle up with long underwear and sit under blankets. We fill our picnic basket with several warm food options (lentil soup or curry, warm whole grain bread from the bakery, a plate of cheeses and olives to share). Dessert is something dark chocolate and preferably warm (lava cake would be good). There is Gluhwein (spiced wine) for the adults and kinder punch for the kids served in pottery stone mugs. A pitcher of ice cold water, too. So good and refreshing outside and it maintains the perfect temperature! The winter air is brisk and clean and the flavors are so alive. This is a perfect meal to be shared with close family and friends, such a wonderful time to be outside when we usually don’t think of being outside. A small bonfire in our fire pit would be the perfect ending to an ideal meal.

  • Chicken and rice but with a Latin twist. Arroz com polio. White wine at the table and for desert, homered cream cheese flan. The best part of the dinner is the leftovers the next day, of there are any. A few good friends sitting at the fireplace after the meal with a hot espresso.

  • Ooh, my ideal winter dinner! It would have to include soup, for sure. I’m a big fan of my homemade lasagna soup with a side salad – maybe some spinach, romaine, olive oil drizzle and some feta. A glass of complimentary red wine to top it off. Dessert should always have chocolate in my opinion. ; ) My favorite chocolate dessert is Denver Chocolate Pudding Cake. Served with ice cream and berries, it’s the best! Man, I think I might be running to the store now….

  • my favorite dinner party? Homemade pasta with my homemade sauce, fresh garden salad, homemade bread and my popular cream puffs. The house smells so good and feels so warm and a casual dinner is just the thing to mellow us out until the thaw.

  • The best part of dinner parties is the company one keeps, of course. After that, depends on the mood. Appies, lots of them, with bubbly. Usually a long braised meat, some roasted potatoes or homemade gnocchi or, my favorite, the polenta from Thomas Keller which is some sort of kitchen voodoo comfort food. Cheeses, then a little pause for more conversation and digesting, then a tarte tatin with cognac whipped cream or other apple dessert. Yum. I should stop describing it and go invite some friends over immediately…!

  • I’m super boring on a cold day, and all I want to do is curl up with some soup, so I’d probably make up a couple big pots of chili or soup, make or buy some rustic, crusty bread, and have an apple cobbler or something for dessert. We don’t have a dining table, so I’d make sure we have tons of blankets and cushions and have a cold weather indoor picnic.

  • Ideal dinner party for a cold day: Six or seven dear friends + a wood-burning fire + enough s’more ingredients to count as dinner!

  • On a cold night, soup, hot chocolate bar, and a fireplace….cozy!

  • My ideal winter dinner party would have to be Italian fare. A robust wedding soup with a basket piled high with a variety of artisan breads and homemade churned butter. Of course it wouldn’t be a party without a huge antipesto platter and so rich red wine. Soft music playing in the background, and soft lighting to add ambiance. Plenty of covers and pillows to lounge around on while digesting the awesome meal and basking in good friendships.

  • Rachel is amazing, producing her versions of delicious classic french dishes on a 2 burner cooktop and a glorified toaster oven. She inspires me to be a better cook, and I’d love to have her cookbook. Thanks.

  • A great mix of people makes the dinner party, and I would serve a simple but tasty meal – black bean soup with goat cheese served with corn bread and a green salad drizzled with really good olive oil. Dessert – vanilla bean ice cream with tortilla chips made with butter and cinnamon sugar.

  • I love soups in the wintertime. Palmiers look great! That book looks perfect!

  • I think a hearty minestrone with crusty bread and a gooey chocolate pudding (with custard) for dessert is the ideal dinner party meal for a cold wintery day! :)

  • My ideal dinner party for a cold, Winter’s day, would definitly be the classic taking the camping trip indoors; pitching the fort, needed in everyone’s home, in lieu of a canvas tent, and rugging up with my boyfriend, whilst eating heart-warming food, and drinking heart-warming mead, with our essential music playing, to the dancing light of the fireplace, whilst creating laughter and memories. All that’s missing, is the sky full of stars.

  • I love this new feature so much! I host a monthly Dinner Club, and being able to reference your themes (from design to food) is just going to be fantastic. Thank you so much!

  • Winter Dinner Party (Vermont Style)

    Selection of: Grafton Cheddar, Rupert Rising pain rustique, pickled red onions, grainy mustard, rabbit rillette.

    Roasted Rack of Venison
    Braised Leeks
    Gratin Dauphinois

    grand-pères (dumplings cooked in a reduced maple syrup) because this is Vermont and we love maple syrup.

    Booze: My homemade hard cider (strong enough to get you through a Vermont winter), The Shed Mountain Ale, hot toddys for after dinner

    And probably a fiddle. Inevitably, a bonfire.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would definitely involve mulled wine and tartiflette, which is a dish I enjoyed many a night when I lived in France. It’s potatoes, lardons, cheese, and onions…the ultimate comfort/cold weather food!

  • My friend and I just got together and made soup for our husbands on a cold blustery evening. We finished it off with 4 different chocolate ice creams. It was about as perfect – and simple – as you can get.

  • Obsessed with Rachel Khoo. Love love love the eggs in pots recipe. My ideal party would be a brunch with those eggs, mimosas, and french toast. Oh my goodness I want some now !

  • For two lucky years, I did have my ideal dinner party, every night. A gathering of friends who lived within a fifteen-minute walk of each other convened every night for dinners, most often at the house of two friends who were roommates. Meals were casually and spontaneously planned – the time was almost always the same and each of us brought the part of the meal that was most naturally our specialty. I, the Midwesterner and baker, brought desserts and breads, our Bulgarian friend brought salads and, always, a tub of yogurt (in case the resident tub waiting for her in our friend’s kitchen might run out mid-meal). Our Italian friend, if he hadn’t succumbed to his new love of fried chicken, most often made pasta, with which he filled our plates before the main dish, prepared by our Polish friend who trained in the French tradition, and who also always insisted on a post-dinner drink. The meals taught us a lot about how to read each other through our cooking, and provided us with a close-knit circle of support and love and a daily tradition that lent stability to our displaced academic lives. We now live, each, in a different city, but when we talk over the phone, we always ask, “what are you having for dinner?” When we started our tradition, we were new acquaintances, but we ended as family.

  • I would put the table near the fire to keep guests warm, then serve up crepes.
    For main course the fillings would be melted brie, buttered mushroom and spinache.
    Then for pudding there would a smores style filling. Crushed maltesers and melted chocolate, with marshmallows on sticks to heat over the fire.

  • My ideal dinner party for a cold winter’s night would feature a stew and a warm dessert.
    I would make a Bombay-style chicken with red split lentils. Nothing like piping hot stew warmed with some Indian spices and made hearty with the addition of lentils to keep out the cold! For dessert we would have berry cobbler topped with vanilla bean ice cream.

  • An ideal Parisian dinner party, French movies, music, eating food at a slow slow paste, being with friends, lots of random conversation, and everyone in socks.

  • My mum puts on dinner parties based on a certain country. We recently had a Spanish night where we dressed up Spanish-style (or at least, our interpretations of Spanish style) and indulged in Sangria, a ridiculous amount of tapas and the most beautiful almond biscuits for dessert. I’d love to do something similar.

  • twinkle lights, my most beloved friends, some cute little flowers, great music and, well, FONDUE of course! :)

  • I liked the effortless look, it adds such a big warm feeling. You think I can create that look and taste in red hot Western Australian summer? It would be a challenge I’d like to take :)

  • I absolutely love French cooking! Julia Child and Ina Garten got me obsessed and I would love to see this little lady’s take on it. My comfort food on a cold day is a one dish rosemary garlic lemon roasted chicken with root vegetables and potatoes underneath to soak up all those delicious juices. Easy and satisfying.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would include a hearty soup (chick peas/kale/tomato/potato/beef), roasted chicken with root vegetables, and ending on a perfect note with bread pudding.

  • Thank you for this lovely giveaway! My ideal dinner party is either a large roast of some sort, a big salad and a crowd-pleaser like mac & cheese, or a party with lots of little nibbles and an enormous cheese platter. Wine in either scenario, of course!

  • My favourite dinner party would include a salad with wallnuts, goatcheese and honey, followed by potatoes baked with mushrooms, tofu and cream finished by superchocolate cake with a cup of sourcream :-)

  • I love Rachel’s show and how she makes French cuisine simple to prepare!
    My ideal dinner party will include a handful of funny foodie friends. We’ll play nostalgic music, sit around a rustic table with candles and flowers from the deli.
    We’ll eat a stew and mop up the sauce with crusty bread. Then we’ll have some cake. Of course, one of the highlights will be a hot chocolate bar — with marshmallows, whipped cream, peppermint stirrers and maybe a spike of liquor. :)

  • My ideal dinner party would be a spicy cioppino with warm crusty bread.

  • I live in Vermont so February dinner or brunch parties are a must for social events to survive the brutal winters. Each February I gather friends and colleagues together for an annual “French Brunch” that have included lovely recipes from my fav French cookbooks and blogs like Mimi Thorisson’s Manger recipe fromage blanc with almonds and honey (http://mimithorisson.com). I am so fortunate to live near Vergennes Laundry, a little french meets rustic Vermont bakery, recently featured in Times mag and Food and Wine’s America’s Greatest New Cooks (http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/edible-selby-french-laundry). I have been inspired by their recipes and attention to exquisite ingredients and presentation and this year I’m going to try my hand at making Petits Pots à l’Absinthe for the piece de resistance! The brunch always includes blood orange mimosas, local cheese board, local seasonal vegetable tart, pain grille with farm butter and mirabelle jam and a dose of Edith Piaf. Ooh la la localvore feast!

  • I’m not gonna lie, I think it would be pretty cool to have a pajama-dinner party! :)

  • I’m a beginner at hosting. Ambiance and easy to prepare are where I spend my energy. I have beautiful rosemary bushes in pots for the winter. I’d start a fire early and have the rosemary close to where people would be sitting. I picked lavender this past summer in France. I still have the stems from making lavender pillows. I’d put that in a mason jar so that it can be thrown into the fire by the firebugs. Supposedly it smells nice.
    Lots of pots filled with hot coco and hot totty! I love to drink hot totty during the winter.
    For food… Well, that’s why i’m entering the giveaway. All I know how to make is Meatloaf and ribs. Both delicious when eaten with lovely company but I’d like to spread my wings and try something that is more than leaving something in the oven for 3 hours.

  • A barbecue party in the winter
    Hot drinks warm from the inside, and that, even if they contain no alcohol, but a tea with rum or a hot mulled wine increase the warming effect of course. Also a Feuerzangenbowle or a punch, which can be offered with or without alcohol, replace the traditional beer for grilling in the winter.
    Many typical winter spices that additionally provide heat to a typical winter and new year’s Eve punch include red wine and rum. Spices that fit into every winter punch are cinnamon, cloves, star anise, grated orange peel and some orange juice, brown sugar, grated lemon peel and a few drops lemon juice, cardamom, allspice, vanilla and peeled ginger.
    The streaky pork chop or the bacon slices, but also a strong crust roast or ham roast are offered in the winter. Such large fry must of course either already pre-cooked are or need some hours on the grill to get cooking. Slices of hearty Kassel meat can be quite fast to cook and taste great in the winter.
    Sauerkraut is very popular and can be prepared on the day before from the barbecue. It is excellent to prepare in large quantities. A more typical winter vegetable, suited perfectly to prepare in large quantities, is Collard Greens. Instead of cold mayonnaise salads is served warm potato salad and as warm bread in the winter.

  • French cuisine is so rich and delicious :) my ideal dinner party would include a codfish lasagna, good white wine, coconut mini pies and lots of fun and joy :)

  • It’s a bit cheesy (no pun intended) but I love doing fondue. You can get creative with the dipping items (lamb or potatoes, for example, not just breads and fruit) and paired with luscious wine, it’s a casual crowd pleaser and ice breaker. Can’t beat “hands on” dinner!

  • Definitely Chicken and Chorizo Paella. it is amazing, delicious and my guests are always asking for seconds. For dessert my favorite is White Chocolate Scones with a Maple Glaze. :-) AMAZING. ( Great, now I’m craving it )

  • Ideal dinner party for the cold weather? Something cozy, with close family. Start with oinon soup for an appetizer. Then follow with a cheese fondue as a main. Conclude the dinner party with a warm chocolate cake for dessert.

  • I really enjoyed this post, and I want to get this Paris Kitchen Cookbook asap!
    My ideal diner party during the winter would be small and cozy, best friends and family. I would serve foods that everyone could just help themselves to. There is a fire in the fireplace, the old records (vinyl) would come out for everyone to play throughout the evening, the lighting is low, flowers and candles everywhere. The food would be simple, good red warm California wine, (white too). An antipasto of cheeses, breads, crackers, olives and marinated veggies would be ready to serve, a pot of homemade wild cream of mushroom soup hot on the stove with assorted garnishes, fresh green onions, smoked bacon, lump crab meat, sour cream etc., a fresh mixed green salad tossed with simple vinaigrette and for dessert we would have freshly baked, served Warm, mixed berry pie with vanilla ice cream followed by after dinner drinks, good conversation and laughs all night long, maybe a game would be played. Charades? The food could be changed to fit the guests, but basically the same simple ready to eat, help your self style. My Favorite way to entertain!

  • Lillet Rosé spring cocktails, celeriac soup with maple roasted carrots topped with “meat sprinkles’ (crispy pancetta), thin pizzette with prosciutto, arugula, shaved Parmesan, light green salad, and brownies.

  • I’ve never done it but for me the best winter dinner party would have to be a barbecue and eating outdoors.

    Stews etc are all good fun but it’s so expected. Firing up a chiminea, getting some mulled wine and cider on the go with some sausages, love it!

    The novelty would probably wear off pretty quickly but the idea of a fire to warm you and cook food on a nice clear winters night just does it for me.

  • My ideal winter dinner party would be an Italian family-style meal. It could start around lunch time on a Sunday and guests could arrive as they please and get home before nightfall if they wish. It would involve some good wine, simple but delicious appetizers, and conversation by the fireplace as well as a beautifully-set table with some candles and winter greenery. Bellissimo!

  • Oh, for a main course I prefer something lighter so as to be able to go heavier for dessert, I’m all about the sweets! Tiramisu is my fave, made with amaretto of course! Or anything with chocolate. Candles and flowers are also musts! I love Rachel’s cooking and she has really opened my eyes to french cuisine made easy! I would love to win her book!

  • Braised oxtail stew with crusty bread and red wine. Next we would bundle up and walk over to our local ice shop and order double scoops on a cone! Yummy winter evening…