Anyone who knows me knows I love hosting events. From a something as simple as a playdate with another friend and her kids, to a 16-person murder mystery party, no get together is too big or too small for me to take on. I get that love from my mom, who is the queen of hosting. I watched her host parties my entire childhood and adolescence, so I really learned from seeing how it was done! She always majored on the food and decor, and while I certainly pay attention to both of those things, I also like to think about what we’ll be doing during the party.
Last summer I hosted a few girlfriends at my home for an outdoor dinner party and it was so much fun. Honestly, it was a highlight of my summer. Not only was the food delicious, but I included a few of them who enjoy cooking in the food preparation. I had drinks and a cheese board set up on the porch for the rest of the guests to mingle and relax, while we baked pizzas and assembled salads in the kitchen.
The majority of the food I served at that dinner was from ALDI, and I was not surprised that it was such a hit! ALDI has such a great selection of fresh produce, meats, dry goods, and dairy products.
It was time for another get together, but this time we changed things up and had an evening filled with wine, cheese, crackers, and chocolates at a beautiful venue in downtown Raleigh. Everything I served was from ALDI, and while I thought I would have plenty of leftovers to take home and enjoy the following day, pretty much every single thing was eaten by the end of the night! I had bought the food and drinks earlier that day and could not get over the low prices that ALDI offers. In my experiences shopping at ALDI, I love that I can find everything I need there, and more, but it isn’t an enormous grocery store that takes forever to get through. Their food is top-notch quality and some of the best prices I’ve ever found.
I chose a few different wines and offered two sparkling grape juice options for those who do not drink. The first wine to be finished was the Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016. I basically blinked and it was emptied. I also served Copperwood Merlot, Dancing Flame Red Blend, and Costal Cove Savignon Blanc, which were all Chefs in America Masters of Taste Gold Medal Endorsement 2017 winners. My sister told me she likes red blend wines over the summer and I had gotten to try one at a winery and loved how smooth and easy to drink it was. I wanted to offer the Dancing Flame Red Blend and also a slightly bolded red, which was the Copperwood Merlot. Sure enough, after the Rosé was emptied, the next bottle to be emptied was the Dancing Flame Red Blend! At only $7.99 a bottle, that would be a perfect wine to give to any host or hostess this holiday season.
For the cheese board, it was a combination of so many delicious items that fell all over the spectrum from salty to sweet. I usually just go for a basic mild cheddar, but with all the options available at ALDI, I pushed myself to do a little research on cheese pairings before the event. I found a few good fruit and meat combinations for brie, mozzarella, and cheddar so we offered a few hors d’oeuvres that were preassembled amongst other cuts of cheese that could stand alone, like the Happy Farms Preferred Cranberry White Cheddar cheese, crackers, and fruit. The favorite of the night was crusty french bread topped with a slice of pear, a thin slice of Happy Farms Preferred Brie, and Appleton Farms Prosciutto. We also assembled a cracker with a slice of Happy Farms Preferred Mozzarella topped with a small cut of Appleton Farms Bite Size Dry Salami, and the third option was a cracker topped with a slice of apple and Specially Selected Aged Reserve White Cheddar cheese.
Of the offerings I had, the Happy Farms Preferred Cranberry White Cheddar Cheese, the Appleton Farms Prosciutto, and Specially Selected Aged Reserved White Cheddar were all Chefs in America Masters of Taste Gold Medal Endorsement 2017 winners. And you could certainly tell these items were award winners! I genuinely enjoyed being able to watch my friends enjoy this delicious food and then immediately tell them how amazing the prices were of each item. I found myself wishing I had bought another package of the Specially Selected Aged Reserved White Cheddar as it was only $2.49 and gone way too soon!
After the ladies had enjoyed some of the food and drink, they all sat down at a long table to learn hand lettering from my friend Ashley who teaches hand lettering classes! A few different people told me that this was such a fun time to learn this skill as the holidays are approaching so quickly.
By the end of the evening, which had gone by way too quickly if you ask me, everyone was full and had enjoyed themselves.
With all the things we each have going on in our lives, it can sometimes be challenging to make time for a fun evening out. I was so glad that each of these women could come to the party, and was equally pleased that I could offer delicious food and drinks from ALDI.
This post was sponsored by ALDI, all opinions are my own and if you ask me you should definitely try the Specially Selected Aged Reserve White Cheddar.