Maybe it was the flowers
Or the linens and china
It may have been the handmade menus
Or the candlelight
Maybe it was the champagne
Or the blinis and smoked salmon
It might have been the dark chocolate
Or the little ramekins ready to go into the oven
Maybe it was the zucchini vichyssoise
Or the artichoke tart and salad
It may have been the cheese course
Or the little chocolate cakes
Or possibly the party favors
But all together, it was a night to remember
About six months ago a friend and I donated a French Dinner Party to be auctioned off at a fundraiser. A lovely couple bought it and once we put our calendars together, it was scheduled for last weekend. The pressure was on! Our goal was to make this experience as special as possible for our generous guests. We wanted the evening to feel a bit like -- cue the music -- "April in Paris." We cooked for days and on Saturday night set the table and lit the candles. The flowers were from Hollyflora and the table linens from Heather Taylor Home. Blue and white china felt like the perfect choice for spring. The party favors were filled with French Macarons from a local patisserie.
Our guests arrived and after champagne and appetizers in the garden we sat down for dinner. It was a culinary adventure and a little trip to France. We made new friends, had some great conversation, and got the chance to make some exciting French food. Our main course was filet of beef with red wine sauce, a french potato gratin and spring asparagus. I loved cooking with a kindred spirit who enjoys nothing better than poring over cookbooks and figuring out a menu as much as I do. Our two-hour planning lunch amidst piles of cookbooks and notes was a highlight of the experience. I got an education in French cuisine. It was a magical spring night filled with joie de vivre. Hopefully our guests felt that for a few hours at least they were transported to "the city of lights." As Audrey Hepburn once said, "Paris is always a good idea." That night we all became Francophiles!Go here for the recipe for Zucchini Vichyssoise
And here for the recipe for Bittersweet Molten Chocolate Cakes
If you are a Francophile and love to cook (those two often go together), check out this new cookbook by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen. I just picked up a copy from my neighborhood bookstore and from my quick perusal it looks as if it is both a cookbook and a love letter to Paris.
Passez une bonne semaine!