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Oct 4, 2011 08:09 AM

What's the new tapas? Looking for a party theme.

As the title suggests, I'm looking for ideas for an upcoming party. We're throwing a housewarming/welcome autumn party in a couple of weeks, and weather permitting it will be an indoor/outdoor gathering, with an outdoor fire. We're expecting about 14 people. What's new and exciting in party themes? Or what's old but needs to come back to life? I'd obviously prefer something that's not overly stressful. Casual is good, and finger food is always good too. I don't think we'll formally sit down together -- more of a mingling atmosphere. Oh, there are some vegetarians and fish-only eaters, so we want to have at least some options for them. And we have access to a really great fish market. Okay, I'll take my answer off the air....

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  1. If you're talking about trends, homemade preserves and pickles seem to be gathering steam. Since the prep work occurs mostly well in advance of the party, it does making serving a breeze. For a sample menu:
    Prosciutto and provolone stuffed pickled peppers
    Pimento cheese stuffed sugar snap peas
    Turmeric pickled cucumber
    Cheese platter with bacon fig compote
    Spanish mackerel escabeche on garlic toast

    1. pumpkin ale? crab dip, caramel apple crisp dessert, hickory smoked bacon flat bread, cheese with different dips, toasted nuts, pumpkin soup, butternut squash ravioli....

      "pumpkin carving" party theme?

      1. I also think it's fun to have two or three kinds of soup on the stove....and have people help themselves (unless you've got someone serving). It doesn't have to be a sit down can have mugs or small "saucer" bowls. It's kind of fun.
        Also...and this is REALLY retro, but I always think it's fun to do....a mashed potato bar. Put toppings in those big martini glasses to serve....and serve the potatoes in martini glasses. (again, people can help themselves.) You can get creative with the toppings....people always have a good time with these.

        1. We had a nice "welcome summer" party that involved serving rose wines from different countries and foods that go with it. You could do something similar for Fall with red wine generally or Beaujolais specifically.

          1. Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm going with the soup idea -- maybe I'll do a Mexican chili, an Indian pumpkin soup and an Italian fish stew. Then guests who want to bring a side dish can bring something from one of those cuisines.

            1 Reply
            1. re: botanica

              A few years ago my friend did a "ski lodge" party. It was January and it was a disguised chili cookoff with 4 chilis on the stove and condiments out on the bar. Everyone was to wear snowflake sweaters, etc. Maybe twist that around a little to your soup idea? Here is my favorite cool-weather soup: