Over the next few days, neighborhoods will be full of parties to celebrate the holidays. It’s a joyous time when we’ll see friends old and new, but we know that it can also be a stressful time for those hosting guests.
That’s why we’ve put together some tips for throwing a holiday party without any of the stress.
Avoid stressing over food
At this time of year, everyone is overindulging! Throw a cocktail party in the early evening or after dinner and you won’t have to worry about catering for a crowd. Instead, grab some cheeses and nibbles, and let the guests help themselves. After all, it’s supposed to be your party too!
If you want to serve a buffet style meal for friends and family, ask people to each bring a dish and it will all come together in no time.
Keep some gifts on hand
It happens to the best of us. Someone hands you a gift and you know that you don’t have something for them. Never fear. Have some gift boxes on hand for when this occasion arises. Any that you don’t give out can be eaten over the festive season.
You might also consider keeping some holiday cards tucked away for anyone who happens to bring you one.
Get guests involved in making drinks
One good option for parties is simply to head to your local wine shop and buy a crate of good wine, then pour it throughout the party. However, if you want to impress with stylish festive cocktails, then you might need to plan a little more carefully. Set up everything guests will need on a bar cart or sideboard, and make or print recipe cards for them to follow. Provide plenty of glasses, shakers, and strainers, and your party guests are sure to have fun. You could even have a little cocktail competition!
Other good options are to make a great punch ahead of time or to ask guests to bring along beverages of their choice.
You might find that the last thing you want to do after a day of party preparation is get dressed up. Why not avoid the stress by encouraging your guests to come along in their favorite festive jumpers?
Unless you are inviting a small group, avoid a formal, sit down meal and go for a buffet or nibbles.
Make it fun for all the family
It’s always the festive season when we notice how much our families have grown. Get ready for your nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or children of friends by grabbing some activities. Simple things like coloring, paper chain making or Lego can keep children occupied and give their parents a break. You could also involve children in the party by asking them to judge who has the best Christmas jumper, or by setting up a scavenger hunt for them.
However you’re celebrating Christmas this year, we hope it’s a happy time for you all.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Shisler’s Cheese House!
One of the biggest Irish traditions has got to be the beers- from ales and lagers to delicious stouts, they are all staples to most St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world. From Harp to Guinness, there’s a notable Irish brew for every beer lover. Whether you are heading out to a parade on the day or hosting your own party, here are some ‘must-know’ Irish beers to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day!
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Guinness is one of the most popular Irish beers worldwide, especially in the U.S. Its flavor is distinct with smooth aromas and deep, dark, satisfying flavors. There are different Guinness brews which are most popular to have- Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout.
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Smithwick’s Irish Ale
Smithwick’s is often referred as “Smitticks”. This ale has a unique flavor to it which combines hops with deep malt, coffee, aromatic fruits and roasted barley notes.
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This lightly colored lager is refreshing in flavor and has a European ring to it. It is rich in flavor and isn’t like any other lager, boasting a smooth and sharp finish.
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Murphy’s Irish Stout
This Irish Stout has become increasingly more popular over the years, particularly in the U.S. It’s much more light a sweet in flavor compared to the other stouts.
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O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
Celtic Stout is a smooth, dry, Irish Stout which combines the rich flavor of coffee with traditional hops. There are also notes of tasty licorice in there!
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Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
With it’s smooth and creamy finish, it has a base flavor which is similar to Smithwick’s. However, the cream ale gives its own unique and delicious blend, nonetheless.
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Beamish Irish Stout
This Beamish Irish Stout was formulated back in 1792 to capture the traditional taste of stout from Ireland. It has a fully rounded, malted flavor.
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Murphy’s Irish Red
This beer dates back all the way to 1856. It is a crisp and dry beer which is naturally red, with hints of fruit and caramel in its flavor.
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O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
This Irish Stout isn’t as common, however, it is a good, tasty brew which is perfect for those lighter drinkers in need of an easy-drinking option. Including fruits such as peaches, bananas, plums mixed with traditional hops, this golden wheat ale is smooth and quenches your thirst.
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Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
Quite like its name, this stout is truly unique. Being one of Dublin’s favorite aromatic beer, it is bursting with interesting blends of dark, flavorful hops, grains and strangely enough, fresh oysters!
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The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Syndey is Australia’s largest Irish event there is. It centers around different things and this year it will center around family. The parade features two music stages with over 20 acts including Aoife Scott, daughter of Frances Black. This family fun parade will also host lots of food and craft stalls and a dedicated children’s area where kids can enjoy activities such as bouncy castles, face painting, Irish dance lessons, and storytelling- all free of charge.
Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival has followed its tradition since 1824, making it one of the longest-running St. Patrick’s celebrations in North America. The United Irish Society of Montreal who has been organizing the event for over 90 years have even helped revive St. Patrick’s Day festivals in the cities of Quebec, Toronto, Hudson, Ottawa, and Chateauguay. The festival is also Montreal’s official start to spring, no matter what the weather is- in the last seven years having seen torrential rain, snowstorms, and blazing heat! You can expect this festival to include more than 100 entries of marching bands, floats and thousands of participants from all over Quebec and Ontario.
This beautiful Isle of the Caribbean is the only country other than Ireland which counts St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday. This is because the Irish connections date back all the way to the 17th century when Irish Catholics fled to this safe haven after being persecuted on neighboring islands. The connection is so strong that visitors receive a Shamrock stamp on their passports! St. Patrick’s Day is not only a national holiday but a week-long celebration, showcasing the amazing, unique African-Irish heritage.
4. New York
New York has always been known for putting on a big show, and nothing changes with St. Patricks Day- New York having celebrated it since 1792! This year’s parade will have 200,000 people marching on the parade route. The parade will begin at 11 am, and will march up to 5th Avenue, stopping outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral to be greeted by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.
5. Buenos Aires
With over 500,000 Irish people and their descendants living in Argentina, there’s every reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! The event is co-hosted by the Argentina-Ireland Association and the Buenos Aires city government, and the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires. It takes over the whole city, culminating in Plaza St. Martin, where there are 100s of food and beer stalls with Irish dancers and live music and huge processions of bagpipes! The event is known as Dia de San Patricio and will be a beer-fuelled party which carries on till the early hours.
Have you ever been invited to a party and upon arriving, you’ve noticed not only how mundane the crowd is but how “bleh” the food is? There is a solution for such a crisis! As the old adage goes, “Be the difference that makes the difference”. This could not be truer in such an instance. If you want to add life to a mundane party, be the life of the party and it all starts with great food! Here is an idea for making you a top-notch “life of the party” invitee!
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A big key to building a cheese and salami plate is letting your palate be your guide. Filling your platter with tastes you like, while paying extra attention to variety, is a good place to start. Here are a few tips on how to assemble your own cheese and salami plate:
Choose a variety of Cheeses
Having a broad spectrum of different cheeses will really help your plate. Ranging from a firm, aged, Spanish Manchego cheese to a soft and robust Taleggio cheese will make it all the more enjoyable. Added to the variety could be a Venissimo cheese which adds boldness to the mix, with the smoky and porky flavors! If you’re unsure of what variety you should choose, it’s always good to ask for recommendations at your local cheese shop too!
Choose a variety of Salami
You may want to only select a variety of different salami from the same brand, but you could mix it up a little by trying flavors from different brands which sound interesting to you. Some may be aged, spicy, or even herb crusted. There are so many possibilities out there! There will always be a variety which matches your palate.
Add sweet and spicy condiments into the mix
A big part of your plate will be the condiments alongside. Honey comb and Marcona almonds are great to accompany cheese and salami. Hot mustard, olives, and roasted red peppers also really bring out the flavor of the cheese and salami and the contrast so well together. Bread is the biggest, most popular condiment to go along with cheese and salami. A grilled baguette slice with olive oil brushed on can make for mouth-watering salami and cheese topped bites.
Serve at room temperature: A simple, but an important rule for a cheese and salami plate is that they must be served at room temperature, for the best taste. Serve when the cheese and salami have been out the refrigerator for around 20-30 minutes and enjoy!