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Five Easy Ways to Spice Up Thanksgiving 2010

Hosting the holiday this year and want to leave a lasting impression?  Catering Manager, Calais Lovejoy provides 5 simple tips on how to create "oooh's" and "ahhhh's" when your guests arrive to celebrate.

  1. Pick a Color Scheme: Most often people pick the traditional “autumnal” colors for their Thanksgiving table. This year, spice things up and throw an unexpected “pop” of color into the mix….a deep magenta or rich aubergine can add just the right twist to the traditional chocolate browns, burnt oranges and mustardy yellows that dutifully grace the table on Turkey Day! Try a runner or napkins in your “surprise” color of choice as an inexpensive way to add just the right amount of “pop” to your table this year!
  2. Minimal Spend: Try using items that you already own in a creative way when designing your table scape. Have an old set or two of taper candle holders that haven’t seen the light of day in years?  Who says they need to be used to hold candles? Instead try grouping them with candles of varying heights and sizes; pillars, tea lights, votives, etc. and perch a festive gourd, a polished apple or any other item of your choosing atop them! Group more of the same elements among the base of the candles and voila, instant new & different centerpieces!
  3. Less is More: We all know that Thanksgiving is all about the food and we spend the majority of the meal passing bowls, platters and baskets up and down the table, and then desperately searching for a free bit of space on the table as “home” for said platter! Keep the table design simple, leaving space for your serving dishes, gravy boats and wine bottles, while still dressing a beautiful table. The table doesn’t need to be over the top, choose a few subtle fall elements and bunch them in three different clusters down the center of the table, leaving room for all the scrumptious goodness soon to make its way from the kitchen to the table in between the clusters!
  4. Give Traditional Dishes a New Twist: Everyone loves Thanksgiving for the simple reason that it provides familiar comfort food that we look forward to every year; Mom’s Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes loaded with butter, Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots, Potato Gratin, Pumpkin Pie. Familiar is great, but why not change things up a bit and give this year’s feast a little punch by adding some new and popular flavors such as those found in Asian and Southwestern cuisine to great oldies?  For example: add a dollop of Red Miso Paste to your tried-and-true recipe for brown sugar glazed carrots for surprisingly rich sweetness! Or, give the good ol’ Potato Gratin an instant make-over using Southwestern influence for a dish featuring squash, poblano peppers and Monterey Jack cheese. But wait…don’t forget dessert! Give everyone’s favorite, Pumpkin Pie, an unexpected twist by adding ¼ cup bourbon to the pie filling and topping the pie with a rich pecan streusel!! Yum!!!
  5. Wine Pairing….How about Beer?: Since pairing just one or two wines with so many different flavors and varieties of food on Thanksgiving Day can be overwhelming and well, just plain tricky, why not give beer a try this year? With such a wide range of fantastic beers available nowadays, pairing just a small handful of them with the meal is easier than it sounds!  
  • Pre-Meal Snacks – give a pleasantly hoppy, full bodied pale ale a try
  • Dinner – to balance the rich and fatty poultry, buttery potatoes and smorgasbord of vegetables found in a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, go big with a Belgian-style brew or take a lighter approach with a crisp pilsner to cleanse the palate
  • Dessert – classic pumpkin pie takes on a whole new meaning when paired with a spiced brew featuring pumpkin notes as well as a rich stout brimming with dark chocolate and bourbon flavors

To find out more information about hosting a private function at Stowe Mountain Lodge, call Calais at 802.760.4739 or email us.

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