Autumn Entertaining: The noble fight against the anti-social pull of the winter!
While a day or two of rest is a welcome and necessary respite, the autumn weather and low-hanging sun can easily turn from two days into months. You'll find yourself in early March blinking and bewildered, facing the tenuous task of relearning how to speak in more than grunts and the voice you only use for your dogs. The spring sunshine might reveal an unwanted wisp of a mustache or goatee that had gone undetected in the dim indoors. In the most serious cases of winter malaise, patients have discovered a small tail born from the sash of the terry cloth bathrobe that was their constant (perhaps only) companion all winter.
Fear not-this unsettling fate can be avoided! Our guide to autumn entertaining will help you forge the shield of warmth and community to fight the dark magic and cold nights ahead. With these seasonal picks, you'll be well equipped to harness the nostalgia and inward tug of winter hibernation for the perfect intimate gathering of good people to break bread, sip wine, share stories and fight the bog witch as a cozy collective.
So, dear reader, we present our must haves for autumn and winter entertaining:
2) The second step is to summon the cozy snacking magic that only a cheeseboard can deliver. It beckons guests to come gather together; a perfect tool to break the ice. I have chosen the beautiful black marble and acacia wood number below as my personal favorite. The size is ideal for entertaining and I love how the design mimics a fingernail moon, perfectly suiting it for autumn entertaining. You can find the board on our website by clicking here! Another option is the classic white rectangle and acaia wood inlay board seen below. You can find that one here.
The cheeseboard seen above was curated by local cheeseboard artisans Celia Donner, Jack Finnerty and Jamie Wyskiel. This team catapults their creations into the upper echelons of cheese board artistry by tumbling berries and edible blossoms amongst the expected selection of cheese and crackers for both an aesthetically pleasing and delicious experience.
4) A glass in hand can have a welcome nerve soothing effect during social occasions, even if there is no alcohol in said glass. Hence why a good bar cart/tray setup is a smart thing to have on hand for entertaining. (Pro tip: If you have the space they are a stylish permanent fixture!)
It doesn't take much to create. I've seen lovely set ups on designated trays, in cabinets and on bar-carts alike!
As for what to include in the station, a classic silver ice bucket is a great touch but a bowl with ice works just as well (see above image!). Glass or Crystal decanters feel more formal than bottles-bonus points if you have silver labels for the necks! Glasses of all shapes and sizes are nice, they can match or be mismatched for a whimsical touch. You can decide what extras to display, but I always recommend a little bowl with lemon and lime wedges. To finish it all off a nice little candle for ambiance always looks great in a bar set up amongst all the reflective surfaces!
You can't go wrong with a champagne bucket like this vintage silver plate number.
Or a classic crystal decanter. Find it here!
5) Nothing generates a sense of connection quite like the ceremony sitting down and sharing a warm meal. There is a simple joy shared in the dishes passed around the table. It's not necessary to adhere to Emily Post etiquette (in fact feel free to use any pages with strict etiquette rules as fodder for the fireplace if so inclined) but care taken when curating a table setting is a wonderful thing for hosting a successful gathering.
This fall, serve your meal on a set of beautiful antique china plates that graced a dinner table a hundred years ago. Think about what scandals, trials and joys these plates might have seen over the years, and collectively toast the lingering energy of human resilience. Use that weird little gravy boat that looks like a seashell, just because its charming and a little strange. Use a different plate design for each setting if you want, or follow a color scheme. Go for a walk beforehand to forage in your backyard for bittersweet berry vines and branches of fire maple to tuck into a unconventional vase for the table. Mix up the silverware pattern and put the soup spoon where the salad fork should be and tell rousing stories with your mouth full!
This blue and white Canton tureen would be the perfect dish to house any number of savory mains or sides. It's also a beautiful keepsake that can double as decor. Found here.
This set of Johnson Brothers Bone China dessert plates are really quite exquisite in their understated elegance. Find them here!
As for the meal itself, something warm and savory checks off all the boxes. I personally am very much a beginner cook so I won't make up my own recipe. I will share that I recently made Alison Roman's Vinegar Chicken with Crushed Olive Dressing (find her recipe here in the NY Times) for guests and it was a hit! It was simple enough for me to follow while still impressing my guests. Make sure you get a good crusty bread to mop up all the delicious, tangy leftover sauce!
Happy cozy Season!