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The season of celebration is upon us, and as avid entertainers, we couldn’t be more excited! Bring on the fanciful desserts, candlelit rooms, and good company. To propel us into the season of merriment, we partnered with Harry & David. Harry & David has been making party planning and gifting both easy and beautiful since 1934. So, they were the natural partner for our first soiree of the season—a Book Swap party featuring our favorite fall titles. From what to bring to your next book swap, to what to have on hand when it is your turn to host, we are sharing our favorites from Harry & David to go alongside our favorite recent reads. We’re big fans of their new line of distinctive gourmet fare, Harry & David Gourmet, created for everyday entertaining with elegance and ease.
For drool-worthy delicacies and bubbly that will inspire you to pop open a bottle, read on. (No shame if you pause to grab a glass of wine mid-scroll).
What’s A Book Swap?
Is it because the weather is cooler and the days are shorter that fall feels like a season of celebration, or is it because the holidays are near and there is a social spirit in the air? We think it’s a bit of both, but our opener to this season’s festivities isn’t a holiday function. No, it’s our take on a book club… a book swap!
You see, with busy schedules and varying preferences, we have tried and failed at proper book clubs over the years. You know, the ones where you all read the same book and choose a date to talk about it at length. Some people finish it, others get partway through, and some never wanted to read it in the first place. So, instead, we get together and talk about the best book we have recently read on our own and swap them. Each person shares a snippet, favorite quote, or regaling review with the group that inspires us to read said title. It’s a fun way to see what is resonating with our dear friends and why, and add a few more reads to our list along the way.
What to Have on Hand
Now that we have set the stage, let us get to the party planning. It’s really quite simple. We called upon Harry & David’s Organic Charcuterie and Cheese Collection, which features a gourmet selection of salamis and Rogue Creamery® cheeses ranging from herbed to blue, as well as a bottle of their new premium sparkling wine, because nothing says celebration quite like bubbles—in fancy coupes, we might add. The wine’s bright and refreshing character with notes of crisp apple and pear was just right for the setting and season.
The sparkling wine, as well as charcuterie and cheese collection, are easy to have on hand. Stock them in the wine cellar or pantry and be party-ready at a moment’s notice. But don’t just follow our lead, Harry & David offers an extensive gourmet selection of savory and sweet appetizers, desserts, and even main courses like Lobster Truffle Mac & Cheese, Prime Rib, and
Cauliflower Risotto. Your guests will commend you for your efforts, and you can pass along the secret that will ensure their next events are knockouts too.
But what’s a celebration without dessert?! Serving dessert at parties is not just to satisfy our sweet tooth, but to let the evening linger. Coffee? Another glass of bubbly? Why not! Sweet treats and drinks welcome guests to stay awhile. For something light and pretty, we served up a Cranberry Pear Galette from Harry & David and topped it with vanilla ice cream. The fall flavors paired perfectly with the wine for a combination that had guests sneaking bites and sips in between book reviews, and staying a while to mull over more than just literary works.
What to Bring
Maybe it’s our modern point of view, or maybe it’s good manners well ingrained in us, but we love hosting parties that are pot-luck style, where no one comes empty-handed and the spread is the fruits of everyone’s efforts. With options designed with the gourmet connoisseur in mind, Harry & David takes the pressure off of showing up to the next soiree with a crowd-pleaser, because, quite frankly, you can please a crowd with any of their iconic goodies. For an intimate event, we suggest Uncork & Unwind. Walking up with this in hand is the elevated take on bringing a bottle of wine. It’s packaged perfectly in a cute wooden crate, and comes with an assortment of mixed nuts, dried fruit, and cheese and crackers. Plus, who doesn’t love a good bottle of wine? This one is the delicious Harry & David™ 2015 Royal Crest Red blend.
There’s nothing better than a smorgasbord of appetizers to munch on. So, for a larger gathering, we recommend the Deluxe Antipasto Assortment. And boy, is it deluxe! We’re talking roasted peppers, bruschetta, garlic-stuffed olives, artichokes, and everything you need to go with them (including a chic cheese board!) all tied up in a cushy crate that you can grab and go. It makes for an exquisite hostess gift, but also, is something the entire party can enjoy. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
We have named a few of our favorites, but take the time to peruse Harry & David’s extensive selection of gourmet food and wine to find your own entertaining must-haves. You can virtually walk the aisles before your next party to pick out the perfect dish, wine, or gift. The collection offers tasty products that range from $10 to $400 so you can find something catered to whatever the occasion, be it a Book Swap among friends or a fancy dinner for guests you want to impress. Plus, Harry & David is always bringing new and exciting options to the table so you can expect to see a seasonal selection in addition to their iconic pantry staples.
Do you have any upcoming events this fall? We would love to hear about your favorite things to host and serve in the comments below!