This week we’re welcoming guest contributor and Portland native, Andrea Vorvick, who lives for entertaining, especially with local producers in mind.
Autumn in the Pacific Northwest usually means cool weather and a fair amount of drizzle. As Portlanders, we don’t let that stop us from throwing a party, though. Heck no! It just means moving the festivities indoors. Throw together a guest list, plan a quick and easy menu, and shop your local markets for flavorful ingredients and unique drink options.
Inviting more people? Just make a few tweaks to the menu by adding a cheese platter, doubling the soup recipe, buying a little more bread, and asking a guest to bring another dessert (or pick up a seasonal treat from the bakery where you get the bread).
Keep it LOCAL
Light appetizers like flavorful, marinated olives and a bowl of mixed nuts are the perfect starters to this meal and won’t fill the guest up before dinner. The main course is a hearty soup filled with veggies and locally-made Zenner’s sausage. Swing by an artisan bakery for a few loaves of crusty bread (Little T American Baker, Grand Central Bakery, and Ken’s Artisan Bakery are worth seeking out). For dessert, a moist, pear-studded spice cake with a simple maple glaze makes a delicious finale.
Offer a selection of Pacific Northwest hard ciders and wines to drink. A few favorites to try:
- Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider: made from heirloom cider apples, this crisp, medium-sweet hard cider is great with spicy foods.
- Finn River Sparkling Pear Cider: a bright hard cider made from a blend of organic and heirloom apples and organic pears.
- Owen Roe 2010 Abbot’s Table Red Wine: a rich, spicy red wine with dark fruit flavors; perfect on its own or with a meal.
You don’t have to get too elaborate to have a beautifully-decorated, harvest-themed table.
- Use seasonal hues: a mixture of yellows, golds, oranges, reds and browns.
- Bring the outdoors in: accent the table with colorful leaves, gourds, and mini pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.
- Lighting: use lots of candles! A variety of hurricane lamps, votives, and tea lights create a room that glows with ambience. Choose unscented or lightly-scented vanilla candles that won’t compete with the meal (nobody wants to smell Spring Gardenia candles or an overpowering room fragrance while eating dinner!).
Last, but not least: don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your friends. Give yourself a pat on the back for throwing a great party and try not to stress about the little details that nobody else will notice. It’s all about gathering with your friends for a cozy, warm evening at home with good food, good drinks, and good conversation.
Have a Harvest Party idea? I’d love to hear what you’re cooking up!