Whether you consider it a good thing, or not, we are allowed to have visitors to our homes again – cue unexpected pop-ins.
On a positive note, that means dinner parties are once more – by far and away – the easiest way to see a whole bunch of people at the same time, without arguments over the bill and fancy-but-overpriced food. Bonus; if you host, it means you won’t have to host again for at least another two years.
So, if the dining table is no longer the desk – and you’ve graduated out of pyjamas – it’s high time to host a dinner party.
But hold on… Times have changed – there are now allergies galore and your left-field friend bought a handbag dog that has to go everywhere – literally everywhere…
Don’t worry, our illustrious slices have been wowing dinner party guests since 1984 – these 7 snack-sized tips have it all covered:
Who to invite to a dinner party
Only invite people you are comfortable playing ‘Never Have I Ever’ in front of. It’s the new social yardstick. Anyone else is a waste of slice… ahem, space.
Gluten free is fine – fun free is not.
When sending invitations, check dietary needs (gluten free, dairy free, vegan, handbag dog needs, etc.) and send babysitter sweetener suggestions** in the invite, so your friend gets the hint and leaves toddlers, teenagers, non-handbag dogs, disliked spouses – and everyone in-between – at home.
**Babysitter sweetener suggestions for you and/or your guests: whether they’re paying for a babysitter or calling in a favour, it’s always kind to leave a snack-pack. Usually, we’d advise holding on to favourite treats, but they are looking after loved ones, so maybe a couple of slices… not the top-shelf Seasonal and Boozy* Slices! And, as host, don’t forget your baby/pet-sitter if you’ve kicked your offspring out (or they’re upstairs being bribed to be quiet and stay out of the way).
*Our Boozy* Slice products contain no alcohol – just decadent cocktail flavours.
How to prepare for a dinner party
Fail to prepare, prepare to flail – and probably fail. Australian society became accustomed to socialising in 2D for a long time; socialising in 3D again is tiring. Mute buttons don’t exist in real life, pants are a “must” (we’re told), and you can’t turn your camera off to snaffle a Springhill Farm snack at any hour of the day.
Take a time out moment to prepare mentally and physically in the days leading up to your dinner party, and don’t leave everything to the last minute.* It’s well-proven that the almonds in our Almond & Choc Chip Slice are brain food, so feed the machine well in advance and you’ll be inspired to develop a tip-top menu – and maybe even a theme / plan for the night.
*If you do leave everything to the last minute, you won’t be frowned upon for serving Springhill Farm slices for starter, mains and dessert. Here’s a suggestion: Boozy* Slice to begin, followed by Classic Raspberry & Almond Slice with a Lemon & Yoghurt Slice ‘garnish’, and Rocky Road Slice to finish. (Last resort people, last resort…!)
How to welcome your dinner party guests
Shut the door on any junk rooms. Turn down the lights to cover up the food stains / cobwebs, and distract your friends with some ‘sophisticated’ music – just don’t make it too chilled; you don’t want anybody falling asleep because you’ll have to deal with them in the morning.
Greet guests with gluten free, all plant snacks on arrival – maybe on a silver platter – naked slices, bites; keep it simple to start with, and reduce the packaging waste. You could even claim you baked!
There’s only one thing worse than turning up at somebody’s house hungry and waiting for them to get their act together in the kitchen (especially if they’re a talker…); the guest who has too many pre-flight drinks on an empty stomach!
Treat and tipple pairings to set the mood
Every good dinner party needs a little something to get the conversation flowing, so our "Slice-melier" (sorry) has pulled together a list of perfect pairings that even Ol' Blue Eyes would approve of...
Of course, the obvious slice-paired apéritif is an Old Fashioned cocktail with Rum & Raisin Boozy* Slice or a Negroni Cocktail & Slice Kit. Another winner is a light-coloured Rosé from Provence with Raspberry & Almond Slice, or Champagne with Lemon & Yoghurt Slice. For the perfect digestif, any chocolate slice is a match made in heaven with wine – sweet, fruity whites to dry reds – or a nice stout or porter (dark beers also come in gluten free and vegan).
And it’s not just for food that you have to be on your A-Game with allergies and dietary choices.
- Not all wine and cider is gluten free, dairy free and vegan
- There’s a range of great-tasting Coeliac Australia-endorsed gluten free beer AND vegan-friendly beer now available
- While all distilled spirits are gluten free, they are not all vegan
- Alcohol Mixers are a whole new world of checking allergies
- Great-tasting alcohol-free craft beer, wine and spirits are now a thing!
Quite frankly, if the aforementioned doesn’t cover everyone, they should have thought to bring their own. And, there is always good old-fashioned water.
As for the handbag dog, canine beer is now also a thing – although we suspect your friend’s pug-poodle-fluffball handbag dog would be more of a seltzer drinker with its plant-based, gluten free, dairy free and allergic-to-fur lifestyle…
Dinner party entrees and mains ideas
If you’re going three-course, choose an entree that you can prepare beforehand. The 80s are making a revival, which means melon and prosciutto is back on the menu in the absence of any vegan eaters; chickpea rice bites (not Springhill Farm bites) with cool mint and lemon dip is a safe option; and deconstructed fresh black bean burrito bowl is one for the more adventurous.
If you do have gluten free guests coming for dinner, deep clean the kitchen and don’t open anything that might not be Coeliac-friendly – the same goes for dairy and nut allergies (see nut-free Springhill Farm slices below). Avoid cross-contamination at all costs – no shared chopping boards, barbecues, fryers, pans, toasters, utensils, etc, etc. No crumbs please!
As for mains, simple is often best – a perfectly-cooked piece of meat or fish with vegetables or salad goes a long way (check with your butcher for free-froms and be careful with rubs, marinades and sauces). For those avoiding meat and fish; stuffed portobello mushroom or eggplant provide beautiful tastes and textures. Either way, cook one for all – don’t be cooking different meals for everyone!
If you do buy anything pre-prepared for your gluten free guests, we recommend it is Coeliac Australia endorsed (no gluten reduced or gluten friendly, or any of the other made-up terms that don’t really mean anything).
The cherry on top: dinner party desserts
You’ve done the hard yards and wowed the guests with round one and two – and with how you’ve cleverly navigated the plethora of free-froms. Now it’s time to pat yourself on the back, put your feet up and crack open the ‘treat-worthy top shelf’. Gluten free and all plant Seasonal Slices, Boozy* Slices… whatever you’ve ordered will be the talk of the town (especially useful for when Uncle Gary is harping on about his new car, golf swing or robot hoover!)
Whichever your choice of sweet chaser, we recommend finishing on the Boozy* Slice Box set so that dessert seamlessly rolls into games without having to break the chat or end an awkward silence. ‘Never Have I Ever’ comes with the Boozy* Slice Box Set, and the whole shebang will have you reminiscing over Espresso Martini fuelled nights out, or that time Nan had too many Cosmos – telling stories of loved ones who don’t mind an Old Fashioned or two.
How to wind-up a dinner party
We all have friends or relatives who don’t know when to leave (Uncle Gary, we’re looking at you again). The most polite way to end a kids party is to pull out the goodie bags – and we all love a goodie bag – so why not continue the tradition with adults?!
Maybe some mindful colouring, a set of mini-screwdrivers (because we lost our Christmas bon bon treats on Boxing Day), and of course, an individually wrapped slice for tomorrow’s time out moment / pick-me-up / hangover. They’ll thank you in the morning.
At least your friends who were too polite to say you didn’t feed them enough – or those who fed dinner to the cat under the table because they didn’t like it – would have something for the road… without the e-numbers. We’re very proud to say our slices are all handmade with wholesome ingredients.
Bonus Tip: If you’re not already, follow Springhill Farm on Instagram.