What’s not to love about gathering your nearest and dearest and thinking outside of the proverbial grocery cart and dining room for an upcoming dinner party? Grab some filmic inspiration from classics; all you need is a little imagination and the right ambience to transform your living room, patio or kitchen into the set of your favourite food-based film. Here are some of our favourites:
An Italian (and English) escape
A Room With a View is a beautiful period piece set in turn of the century Florence and England that sees Lucy Honeychurch and her chaperone touring the great museums, until she meets George Emmerson, a strong, quiet type who is more than a little alluring. Inspired by the Italian countryside, we recommend you set the scene with a red checkered table cloth for your blanket, pillows to rest weary limbs and tea lights. Little bouquets of wild flowers, or bunches of tied lavender will fragrance the space so you’re transported to Chianti.
For those who like a no-fuss menu, buy some excellent charcuterie like paper thin prosciutto slices, sopressata, mortadella or cured English sausage rounds to present on a big, rustic wooden cutting board. Accompany it with some great cheeses such as crumbled chunks of English stilton or pecorino drizzled with a wildflower honey and tossed with walnut halves. For dessert, pick up some mini English Trifles or a beautifully prepared Italian Tiramisu. Cap off the evening with some Tuscan Vin Santo and life is bella!
Viva Mexico with Like Water For Chocolate
If weather permits, set up outside on a patio or balcony and grab your best pattern-throwing lanterns and string fairy lights around the space so that you create a night-time, “carnival” mood for this Mexican classic. If you’ve any Mexican blankets, they double as ideal tablecloths. Don’t forget the vibrant, colourful stemware, cutlery and plates.
Rose petals feature prominently in this film, so scatter edible ones on your dessert plates where chocolate should be the star of that course (a soufflé, mousse, flan or lava cake would work). Aloe plants and cacti make for fitting centrepieces and a sound track of haunting Spanish tunes should permeate in the background. We suggest Lhasa or Lila Downs as good choices. Don’t forget a good sangria in a giant pitcher or fresh “aguas” (juices) like a Hibiscus flower or watermelon. If you spike them with tequila, we won’t tell!
Rom-com for pooped parents: Date Night
Busy wife, mom, caterer, cooking instructor and author Nadine Hughes knows a thing or two about keeping the spark alive, just like Tina Fey and Steve Carell learned in this hilarious rom-com. A two decade marriage veteran herself, Hughes says, “A good night takes you back to that giddy phase when you wanted to learn more about each other, when you felt the anticipation of what’s to come.” She adds, “It’s when you’ve both made an effort to be there both physically (in terms of appearance) and mentally.” No beer-stained t-shirt or bleach-splattered yoga pants? Check. And no kids!
She asserts few things enhance anyone’s mood more than a sensual meal. Sip and nibble by the fireplace if you have one for this tasty menu that echoes the chic downtown vibe of the Fosters’ restaurant choice. Start off with chilled champagne cocktails, and fresh oysters, followed by an easy, luscious salad of greens, pre-bought duck confit and fresh pear slices. For dessert finish off with plump strawberries you dip in sour cream followed by brown sugar, and you’ll be in the mood for love in no time.