In The Kitchen
How to Throw an Italian Dinner Party
If you’ve been dreaming of Italy but weren't able to make it there this summer, here's our guide to throwing a cozy Italian dinner party. You'll get the rundown of an authentic Italian dinner menu (plus recipe ideas), tips for how to set your table, what playlist to make, and, of course, advice from the Avaline Team's wisest Italian grandmothers.
Wine Pick: Cabernet Sauvignon
It’s smooth, it’s jammy, it has the depth and the body to stand up to hearty Italian meals like spaghetti and meatballs or eggplant parmesan. Plus, the brightness of the red berry notes in our Cab goes incredibly well with tomatoes.
The Backup: Red Blend
Our Red is that go-with-anything kind of sip that can step in if you’re in a pinch. Grab a few bottles while you’re shopping for dinner ingredients just to have on hand in case the Cab runs out.
Typically, classic Italian dinners have seven courses (don’t worry, that includes drinks & dessert!)
1. Il Aperitivo (the drinks)
2. L’antipasto (the appetizers)
Traditional antipasto is basically the original charcuterie board. Grab a plate and set out some cured meats, Italian cheeses (like mozzarella, gorgonzola and ricotta), olives, bread, and serve it with a plate of olive oil & balsamic vinegar.
3. Il Primo (the pasta course)
A small portion of pasta to start is *very* authentic (and can we just say: we are soo on board with incorporating this into every meal). Pasta Puttanesca, Baked Ziti, Vegan Cacio e Pepe, or Polenta with Mushrooms are all great options.
4. Il Secondo (the main course)
5. Insalata (the salad course)
At this point, it’s time to serve the salad. Fun fact: Italians serve their salads after dinner because leafy greens help with digestion. Here's a recipe for the perfect salad.
6. Formaggi e Frutti (the fruit and cheese course)
We suggest taking the cheese from your antipasto platter and transferring them to a fresh plate, loaded with grapes, dried apricots, and whatever seasonal fruits you love—red berries pair beautifully with Cab!
7. Il Dolce (dessert)
Italians love their desserts. You can keep it simple with a dish of gelato, or pull out all the stops with a tiramisu.
Tips from the Avaline Team’s Italian Grandmothers:
There are a couple of wise Italian grandmothers who are related to the Avaline team. Here's our favorite tips for hosting your dinner party with ease:
"Make your sauce & sweat down your onions the night before. No one will ever know the difference!" - Concetta (85 years old)
"If you're putting so much effort into the main meal, guests don't need anything fussy to snack on beforehand. If you *really* want to make an impression, set out some meat and cheese, but don't do more than that!" - Louise (74 years old)
"Remember that it's all about sharing a meal, drinking wine, and making memories, so don't sweat the small stuff." - Hazel (79 years old)
to set the tone
- Lots of beeswax candles (extra melty, extra vibey)
- A classic tablecloth (red & white checkered or white lace)
- Bread & olive oil (scatter around the table so no one is
- reaching too far)
- Sparkling water (have a few bottles on the table, along with your Cabernet)
- & a playlist full of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett
- and Al Martino
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