A friend of mine has an annual tradition of hosting an afternoon party on New Year’s Eve. I’ve always thought her party was such a great idea; hosting an open house in the afternoon to catch up with friends while celebrating the blessings of the past year. The great thing about hosting in the afternoon is that friends can stop by for a drink or two before heading onward to their evening parties to ring in the new year. Inspired by our friend’s annual party, we decided to host one of own this past December.
For the cocktail party, we planned an assortment of hors d’oeuvres including classic smoked salmon on blinis and Thai Chicken Tulip bites served in phyllo pastry cups. I used vintage wine crates to display the food. Certain LCBO stores carry vintage wines that are delivered to the stores in wooden crates. The stores typically dispose of the crates so, if your visit to the store is well timed, you can pick up a few of these crates to use at home for display or storage. Some of the LCBO stores charge a small fee for the crates and donate the funds towards a local charity. It’s a win-win all around.
As an additional display prop, we used the wicker picnic baskets that we purchased from Fortnum & Mason in London many years ago. You can get creative using household or garden items for party displays. Some items to consider include vases, baskets, crates, mason jars, butcher blocks, cutting boards, aluminum buckets, tree branches, etc. Creating different elevations in a food display adds visual interest across different focal points.
For hot food bites, we hired Barque to cater with mini pulled pork sliders (my favourite!), fish tacos (yum!) and mini brisket sandwiches (super tasty!). Chef Colton from Barque was fantastic at putting together the individual bites throughout the party. Having a chef onsite meant the food was presented fresh and hot.
The pork sliders featured pickled kohlrabi, hickory sticks, pommery mayo and candied bacon. The candied bacon was delish! You can make your own candied bacon at home with Barque’s recipe.
The fish tacos featured tomatillo salsa, avocado crema and citrus slaw.
Erin, the Catering Manager at Barque, was fantastic to work with. She was really responsive and happy to tailor the menu to our budget and party needs. I reached out to 5 caterers to obtain quotes and, by far, I was most impressed with Barque’s flexibility and service.
Enjoying the tasty bites, while spending the afternoon catching up with friends, was the perfect way to celebrate the end of a great year.