Last week, I had the immense pleasure of getting to photograph (and now blog about!) the Downton Abbey themed dinner party that my parents hosted for their book club, Between the Covers. (Isn’t that name so clever and funny?! I love it!) Usually the club reads one book a month and has a themed party over which to discuss the reading, but since Downton Abbey is so well written, instead of reading anything, the club agreed that catching up on the past seasons of the show would be just as enthralling as reading a book!
Since this party was the night of the new season’s premier, they had to go all out!
The party was PERFECT. Not only did a Union Jack flag greet everyone as they arrived, but the guests were dressed in Downton inspired threads, the house looked better than it ever has, and the FOOD!! Ohhhh my gosh the food…
My parents have a friend who is sort of a jack-of-all-trades who helped pull this party off! If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, think Carson’s butler/service/keeping-things-in-order skills blended with Mrs. Patmore’s culinary talent and you’ve got this guy. Feeding folks and making sure they’re enjoying themselves is his gift.
My parents hired him and his wife and son for the purposes of making this party great. The team of three started preparing days ahead of time, and they left no stone unturned when it came to preparation. They worked SO hard!!
As guests began to arrive, they were greeted by my parents’ Scottish Terriers (which sort of became a theme throughout the evening!), an assortment of lighter wines and some divine appetizers! Try Jumbo Lump Crab Stuffed Baby Portabella Mushrooms with Sauce Ver Blanc on for size… And that wasn’t even all! There were also some Phillo Pastries stuffed with the same seafood combo as well as the Euro-inspired Grilled Fig with Stilton Bleu Cheese and Toasted Walnut Syrup Canapes. I speak from experience when I say these appetizers were to die for. Particularly the figs!
As the evening progressed, the food kept coming! Would you like an overview of what all the seated dinner included? Take a look at the full menu, my friends…
Are you hungry now?! 🙂
The Lobster Bisque served for the first course was something that really surprised me. I’m not a seafood fan, and I especially don’t love lobster… I don’t know why, it’s just not my thing… But I put my brave cap on and took a bite of this guy’s lobster creation and I. Was. FLOORED.
This was the best soup I’ve ever had!! Maybe I’m not a lobster hater after all?! This bisque certainly opened my eyes to trying other lobster bisques in the future! But I’m almost certain no bisque I ever eat again will even compare to this particular variation. The Chef explained that he put his own spin on the creamy dish by adding a little extra spice to compliment the red wine we were drinking. It was a PERFECT pairing. PERFECT.
Yes, we’re off to a good start!
After the bisque came the Queen’s Garden Salad. It was beautifully plated with a mix of broccoli florets, mandarin slices, and toasted pecans, but the dressing that topped this fresh mix is what stole the show! The Chef’s very own Red Wine Vinaigrette was jaw dropping… I’m telling you… It was amazing!! I do believe I’ve had dreams of this salad dressing over the course of the past week… I’m sure the others at the party would agree!
Next was a little palette cleanser of homemade Lemon Ice. It was a beautiful, sweet, and simple four-bite course to give us time to digest the lovely bisque and salad!
Also available around this time in the evening was a toasted roll to go with the Orange Champagne Jam and adorable Scottie-shaped pressed butter! (Not shown in the picture above: A Scottie-shaped Lemon Ice garnish!)
When time came for the biggest course of the evening, the staff did a wonderful job of serving the Beef Wellingtons, each complete with a pastry Scottie on top! 🙂
The Beef Wellington was accented by Duchess Potatoes, Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper, Honey Walnut Glazed Carrots, and a DELICIOUS Red Wine and Scallion Reduction. Although it all tasted just as wonderful as it looked, I think the sauce was my favorite part of this course!
The last seated course was a White Chocolate Bread Pudding with a Rum Sauce. I personally did not get to taste this dish, but based on what I heard about it… It was right on par with the rest of this glorious dinner! I LOVE Bread Pudding, and Chef’s take on it sounded like it would’ve been nothing short of spectacular! Unfortunately I don’t have a decent picture of it either, so you’ll just have to completely imagine the details of this dessert! 🙂
Overall, I know everyone had a wonderful time getting dressed up and getting served like they were guests at Downton Abbey! It really was such a ball!
Thanks for stopping by today!
Be sure to stay tuned later in the week for some snapshots of the outfits the attendees wore! Get excited!