Are you hosting a dinner or cocktail party this holiday season? Tired of serving the same old cheese plate, cookies and cocktails? Why not draw from your travels for culinary inspiration? Here are some of my favorite beverages and finger foods for internationally inspired holiday gatherings.
Few holiday drinks make me feel more festive than a Kir Royal (French) –sparkling white wine or champagne with a shot of cassis (black current) liquor. I serve mine in champagne glasses.
Another good option, though a bit more involved to prepare is a traditional Peruvian Pisco Sour. This drink combines Pisco (grape brandy) with lemon or lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and bitters.
For a good recipe, see: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000001194627 Another holiday favorite is the traditional Italian Negroni coccktail (one part gin, one part sweet vermouth, and one part bitters, traditionally Campari).
Never underestimate the power of a beautiful French Charcuterie platter, an assortment of cured meats and garnishes like cornichons (small, bitter French pickles), olives, or pickled onions. For ideas on assembling your own charcuterie platter, see: http://www.ehow.com/how_2150455_assemble-charcuterie-platter.html For something different, try whipping up a batch of Brazilian Bolinhos de Bacalhau (Salt Cod Fritters). For an excellent recipe, see: http://www.maria-brazil.org/tiragostos.htm.
Or take a cue from Spanish culture and prepare a platter of Tapas or Pintxos (northern Spain’s answer to Tapas), small plats consisting of meats, eggs, cheeses and olives often served on a toothpick or on small slices of bread. You can get creative (after all, that’s what pintxo/tapas culinary culture is all about) or stick with traditional favorites like the “Gilda,” a guindilla (Spanish chile pepper), an anchovy and a green olive speared with a toothpick or a pawn and bacon brochette. The options are endless. Here are some great Tapas/Pintxos recipes to get you started: http://www.tapas-recipes.com/pintxos.html