Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Entertaining with Metro Ontario & How To Be The Host with The Most

WOW your guests with a striking dessert board filled frozen desserts that you can always keep on hand
I come from a family of hosts. I grew up thinking of my Oma and Opa (my mom's parents) as being the most sociable people I knew. Their home was always filled with friends, family, food, drinks, love, and lots of German drinking songs. The lives of the party, their home was constantly abuzz with a rotation of visitors, and somehow always a steady flow of fresh and delicious dishes that my Oma seemingly magically prepared. 

My mom and dad carried on this same tradition when they renovated our family home when I was seven. Suddenly our home became the hub for activity, as they regularly hosted dinner parties, family gatherings, friend hangouts, pool parties, and so much more. As our family adapted to life changes, we began to take on hosting our families holiday events as well. Christmas became our domain, and my goodness, did my parents ever knock it out of the park every year! With a beautiful home meant for entertaining, and parents with an uncanny knack for being the "hosts with the most," we started to host Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Passover (for my dad's side of the family), Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, and I think once even Easter as well. 

"being a great host is truly about being a great juggler."

Now that I've grown up and have started hosting gatherings and parties in my own home with my boyfriend, I've started to realize just how lucky I am to have been given such great training for the role of "host" throughout my life. It's easy to take for granted, but I've come to appreciate and understand the delicate art of putting your guests at ease from the moment they arrive, setting the mood with music and decor, creating a well-balanced menu, and keeping everyone happy and comfortable throughout their time with you. It sounds simple enough, but being a great host is truly about being a great juggler. You have to be able to have your eye on all three balls in the air, and keep them from falling. 

"These women truly did it all, but that doesn't mean they weren't without their shortcuts."

Without a doubt the most difficult ball to keep control of is the food. While creating a menu and keeping guests well fed is a challenge in itself, during the holidays that challenge goes turbo, with unexpected guests and gatherings happening every few days. It seems impossible to be able to stay ahead of the game, and be ready with food and drink, should a surprise gathering arise, but somehow my Oma and my mom were always prepared. Though on the outside it appeared that they were embodying the trope of the "women who can do it all," making everything from scratch, while juggling jobs, family's, and other commitments, and don't get me wrong, they were. These women truly did it all, but that doesn't mean they weren't without their shortcuts. What my Oma and my mom taught me is that the true trick to being the host with the most, is knowing when to let someone else do the work. 

Though it's tempting to want to be able to say "I made everything!" let's face it, it's also exhausting! For the times when I just don't have the time or the energy to do everything myself, I turn to my tried and true shortcuts. This holiday season my favourite shortcut is keeping frozen desserts on hand. 
"My favourite type of frozen desserts are the ones that I can add my own personal touch to."

Since ti's the season for indulging in your sweet tooth, desserts are always an easy win for guests both unexpected and planned. My favourite type of frozen desserts are the ones that I can add my own personal touch to. The Irresistibles line from Metro Ontario carries a fantastic collection of frozen profiteroles (in both chocolate and plain) and eclairs, that have come to be my go-to holiday entertaining desserts. I love this line of desserts because 1) it allows me to have a dessert on the table in 30-minutes with very minimal effort, 2) it allows me to cater the dessert easily to the amount of guests I have, and 3) I can dress up the desserts in whichever way I please! 

My personal favourite way of serving the Irresistibles profiteroles and eclairs is by presenting them as apart of a striking dessert board. The profiteroles and eclairs look delicious on their own, but are made all the more striking and dramatic when paired with a selection of fresh fruit, dried fruit (dried cranberries, figs, and apricots are great!), other baked goods (think brownies, squares, and cookies), candied nuts, and so much more! Use your imagination and have fun with it! Your guests are going to love the beautiful presentation you've put together, as well as the delicious spread before them, and most of all, you'll have more time to spend with the people you care about, and less time stressing in the kitchen. I think I would make my Oma and my mom proud!

Tip: Because they travel so well, these are also great desserts for bringing to potluck parties! 

Listening To:

* This post was brought to you in collaboration with Metro Ontario. All words, opinions, and photographs are, as always, entirely my own and reflect my own personal views. 

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