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3 Tips for Easy Holiday Entertaining

11/17/2014 02:38AM ● Published by Family Features

The holidays are a time for connecting with friends and enjoying quality time with family, but if you find yourself hosting an endless stream of guests, it can also be a time of hectic preparation and hours spent in the kitchen. Make your life easier with three tips for easy, elegant entertaining.

Be prepared
If you have wine and cheese on hand, you’ve already cut your job in half. Stock up on a few different cheeses and wine varietals so you’re always prepared for any impromptu visits.

Add sliced fruit or grapes, some crackers and roasted nuts and you have a beautiful spread ready in minutes for any surprise guests. Looking for something warm? Keep a supply of your favorite store-bought appetizers in the freezer and simply pop in the oven when needed. Dress up with a simple sauce or garnish for a homemade touch.

For wines, choose perennial favorites that pair with a variety of foods. One white and one red are often sufficient. A chardonnay is a classic choice, like Cambria Estate Winery’s Katherine’s Vineyard, with its subtle tropical and citrus aromas and lovely balance of oak and vanilla flavors. For red, consider lighter-bodied reds like a pinot noir which will match a variety of dishes. 

Simplify, simplify, simplify
An elegant holiday party doesn’t require weeks of preparation or intricate, multi-course dinners. Spend some time in the days leading up to your party preparing dishes that can be cooked ahead of time, and then simply re-heated when needed. Think potato gratins or mashes, roasted vegetable soups, gravies and trifles for dessert.

Alternately, for big family dinners, serve dishes buffet or family style that are just as delicious at room temperature as piping hot. For example, barley salads and sliced beef can be served warm, and can be perked up with heated sauce. Finally, choose one food-friendly wine to serve throughout the meal, such as Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir which is sure to impress with its red fruit and dark berry aromas that carry through for a lush, fruity finish. This wine pairs equally well with light and dark meats, as well as roasted vegetables and even chocolate desserts.

Make it unique
Add a special touch to any get-together without elaborate decorations. Create your own festive look by using similarly colored platters, plates and glasses and mixing in fresh flowers and foods found at the local farmers market. Or give more meaning to your party by selecting products that do their part to give back. For example, Cambria gives $100,000 to women making a difference in their communities with the winery’s Seeds of Empowerment grants. Highlighting giving programs is a thoughtful way to make your party more memorable and feel even more special to guests.  

Every hostess can throw an elegant holiday gathering by following just a few simple tips. For more ideas to enhance your celebrations, visit www.cambriawines.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by Jackson Family Wines

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