We’ve just finished our 4th annual New Years Day brunch party, a great excuse for us to kick off the year surrounded by family and friends and of course, lots of festive beverages.
Over the years, we’ve perfected our brunch-hosting skills, and have come up with three main tips for hosting a brunch that’ll leave all your friends well-fed, and leave you as the host free to interact with them.
- Choose foods that work at room temperature.
The best brunches last for hours. The one we hosted yesterday went from 10am to 3pm, and we had people here that whole time. Once your friends arrive, you don’t want to have to be spending your time continuously heating and re-heating food in the kitchen (nor worrying about serving dishes that need to kept cool…)
Our menu for the latest brunch did a nice job at this. We served:
- Cut fruit
- Three kinds of cheese and crackers
- Cream cheese & pepper jelly
- Tomato, shallot, basil salad
- Smoked salmon with capers
- Black-eyed peas (in both vegan and bacon varieties)
- Coffee walnut monkey bread (I timed this to come out right after brunch began, so our early comers got it warm. It still worked once it cooled, though.)
- Breakfast sausages (this was our only truly warm item. I made them in three batches throughout the brunch.)
As such, I was able to get just about everything ready in an hour or so before the food came out, and yet we had plenty of food for the entire brunch that everyone enjoyed.
- Set up a separate beverage station away from your food.
At any party, whether it’s a brunch or some other gathering, people just have a tendency to gather around where the food is. But especially if you’re dealing with a smaller dining space, you want to find ways to redirect the flow of traffic and create mini gathering areas at places away from the food.
At our brunch, we achieved this by placing a “make-your-own mimosa” bar with orange juice, cranberry juice, and St. Germain mixing options along side champagne flutes and an ice bucket of champagne in the living room.
This way, we had a good flow between the dining and living rooms all party, helping to ensure good conversation and mixing throughout the party.
- Label everything.
I have friends that are vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten-free. Paleo. Low-fat. Low-carb. Allergic to peanuts. Allergic to chocolate. All kinds of dietary restrictions going on.
To be considerate, and to help from having to answer 8 million food questions throughout your event, I recommend just making it easy on yourself and labeling everything from the get-go. Make a note for things that apply to the most common dietary restrictions like vegetarian and gluten-free.
Your friends will feel more able to enjoy what you’re serving, and you’ll be freed from ingredient interviews all party.