Food & Wine recently asked Andrew and I to share some of our favorite tips for entertaining in the Fall (which happens to be the very best season to entertain in Maine). Below are some of my favorite parts of the article, but you can read the whole piece on their website.
“I love setting up sexy lighting,” Briana says. As far as placement goes, avoid having direct lighting on anyone’s face, she advises. “You want almost this diffused look, so I would always recommend making the house a little dimmer than maybe you think is comfortable, and lighting a few more candles than you think you need.”
Make a Badass Playlist
Look ahead to the weather that day, and create a playlist in advance to complement it. In the fall, the Volks aim to create a cozy-moody feel with tunes. Some of their go-tos? Shuggie Otis’ Strawberry Letter 23; Wilco’s Kingpin; Billy Joel’s You May Be Right; Devil Makes Three’s Gracefully Facedown; Magnetic Fields’ Kiss Me Like You Mean It; and Nick Cave’s Do You Love Me? (Part 1).
Hang with the Kids
Most of the time, when the Volks—parents to Oona, 4, and Rockwell, 18 months—host, children are welcome. Not only that, but they’re encouraged to sit at the table with the adults. “I hate the idea of a kids’ table,” Briana says. “I think it’s important that they are part of it, and bringing them in at an early age hopefully teaches them good manners because they see our example.” But, she adds, it’s also a good idea to hire a babysitter to “chase the kids around,” so the adults can spend time socializing.
Make Low ABV Cocktails
Or, as they write in the book, “be kind to your guests’ livers and make sure to moderate their intake.” Their suggestions for making your company doesn't “get too wasted,” include paying attention to glassware sizes (opt for serving cocktails, or even wine, in four-ounce vintage coups instead of pint-sized glasses); inviting them to try lower-alcohol libations such as vermouth with soda water and a lemon twist; and offering plenty of booze-free drinks such as seltzer with bitters or a flavored syrup like Maine-made Royal Rose Syrups.
Leave Them Wanting More
The Volks love to give guests “care packages” on their way out the door. Come fall, that could include something as simple as a bag of heirloom apples from a local farm, or something to eat for breakfast the next day, like a jar of cider-spiked overnight oats. “With the morning meal ready, they can sleep in that extra half-hour, so nobody has an excuse to leave before midnight,” Brianna says.
Original article: Fall Entertaining Tips from Maine’s Coolest Culinary Couple