Lake Isle Press

Your Winter Dinner Party Guide

Sometimes, dinner parties seem like more work than they’re worth. There’s planning, shopping, menu-making, frantically dressing a minute before the guests arrive, realizing partway through dinner you’re only wearing one earring, and of course cleanup. Winter is the time when you want to draw your friends close around a table and tell stories by a crackling fire, but if you’re like me, the idea of entertaining can be daunting.

Here's where the Culinistas can help you. Self-proclaimed as “confident home chefs” who can be found “at the center of every party scene,” Jill Donenfeld and Josie Gordon know all there is to know about planning and executing parties. They’re savvy, they’re health-conscious, they’re never caught wearing one earring, and they’ve got you covered this winter.

With their guides in Party Like a Culinista, Jill and Josie have created delicious menu combinations for every kind of party (think dinner party, romantic meal for two, daytime gathering, blowout cocktail party, BBQ party…the list goes on). What’s more, each guide is complete with the appropriate wine pairing, the order you should cook the dishes for the timeliest preparation, and even when in the cooking process you should change your clothes.

Really, there’s no excuse to put off that gathering you’ve been thinking about planning. Follow the guide below, and your dinner party will be the talk of the season!

Menu – serve this Mediterranean combination for a filling but fresh winter meal.

Arugula and Mozzarella Salad with Eggplant Caponata

Mediterranean Roasted Pork Loin

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pistachios

Almond Cookies with Cherries and Cream

Wine Pairing

The sun-drenched vineyards of Sicily are great for Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese, local grapes whose juicy wines sing with Mediterranean menus like this one. Producers to look for include Colosi, Ceuiso, and Terre Nere, all of which produce terrific wines at lower price points.

Cooking Order

1. Cookies

2. Potatoes

3. Salad

4. Pork loin

Wardrobe Change

Take the pork out of the oven and let it rest while you change. Assemble the salad when guests arrive.

Happy Partying!


Meagan Goldman is a food-lover and aspiring writer. You can follower her at

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