Food & Wine Style & Design

The Art of Entertaining

dinner party ideas

Da Vinci had The Last Supper; Renoir, the Luncheon of the Boating Party. Even though these paintings were created some 400 years apart, the underlying theme reads the same: breaking bread with good company is a quintessential part of what it means to be human. While the dinner party is nothing new, today, the ways in which it is being presented is certainly becoming more elaborate – like one-night pop-up productions with lavish sets, big casts, and striking staging stirred by dramatic themes and settings.

In the case of Noble House’s Kona Kai Resort & Spa, the setting couldn’t serve as a more inspiring composition from which to draw. The property’s bleached-white facade topped with a red-tile roof pays tribute to the original Spanish colonial architecture, while the interior’s distressed beach wood and accents of gold, turquoise, and teal add a playful modern-day coastal vibe. We let that ambience drive the direction of a SoCal-cool inspired dinner party while presenting translatable tips to pocket for your next evening spent entertaining.

art of entertaining

arrowupHeat causes flowers to unfurl, so warm any of your larger blooms (roses, dahlias, etcetera) in a steamy bathroom, and they’ll pop wide open for a luscious look.

art of entertaining

arrowupStart keeping some inexpensive potted plants, like Boston or sprengi fern, so you can cut greenery from them the day of for your centerpieces.

art of entertaining

arrowupThe perfect cheese plate is a contrast of tastes and textures (of both cheeses and crackers) and savories. Try swapping go-tos, like cheddar for a dense Gruyère, and olives for flavor-packed caper berries.

art of entertaining

arrowupA small-batch bitters, like Bittermilk No. 2, will add some elderflower notes to a vodka or gin drink.

art of entertaining

arrowupTruffle honey is not only delicious; it looks great served in small bowls or even as a smear directly on the cutting board.

art of entertaining

arrowupCheeses should be served room temperature, so take them out of the refrigerator an hour before guests arrive.

art of entertaining

arrowupDon’t be afraid to use mix-matched glassware. It makes for a much more colorful and dynamic spread while also helping people remember which unique glass they were drinking out of.

art of entertaining

arrowupFavors aren’t just for weddings. Send guests home with a small token – say, a jam or candle inspired by the theme or design of the evening – to remember your event. 

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