Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Adventures in Party Planning: Hot Chocolate Party
Fort Worth recently got an Anthropologie store (yay, one less reason to drive to Dallas!), which is making me want to revive the tradition of throwing a hot chocolate party for our neighbors in January. Here, allow me to connect those dots for ya: Anthropologie always has these really cute initial mugs on their Web site (or, at least, they had them until they got wind of the fact that I was going to blog about them, and then – boom, boom, pow – no personalized mugs . . . but I bet that they will be back). In the past, the theme of our HCP was “B.Y.O.M.” (Bring Your Own Mug), but now I’m thinking, how cute would it be to give everyone a mug with their family’s initial on it as a Christmas present, and then ask them to bring those mugs to the party? We could add mugs each year until they have a set.
We’re a neighborhood of gift givers, by the way. Frequently, gifts just show up on the front porch – often anonymously. We also give good hostess gifts. The queen of the Thomas Place hostess gift givers: Rosemary, who has a monogramming machine. Thanks to Rosie, our female dog has a wardrobe of personalized bandanas (actually, those weren’t a hostess gift – they were a gift to the birthday dog on the occasion of her backyard dog birthday party), and I have a darling tea towel personalized with “The McGlincheys’ Hot Chocolate Party” and a date.
The towel is black and white. Which, darn it, would match those (currently theoretical) Anthropologie mugs.
So, the HCP couldn’t be easier. You make a big batch of hot chocolate and figure out a way to keep it warm (my grandmother’s electric coffee urn comes in handy for these sorts of occasions), and then you put out a variety of:
Sprinklers (such as chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, chili powder and ground nutmeg);
Stirrers (such as rock candy swizzle sticks, peppermint sticks and cinnamon sticks); and
Spikers (such as Kahlua, Frangelico, and my spouse swears by tequila)
I also provide a variety of non-alcoholic Torani coffee syrups and those old standbys, marshmallows and whipped cream. You can get flavored whipped creams at the holidays (Parker swears by peppermint), and I’m seeing gourmet marshmallows everywhere. And, yes, you can make your own marshmallows – although that would run somewhat counter to the whole “easy peasy, lemon squeezy” aspect of the HCP.
The greatness of the HCP is that:
1) It can be come-and-go; and
2) It can stand alone or be paired with just about any food concept. Just appetizers, just desserts, or a variety of soups, if you want to go with an “all-liquid” theme – really, anything will work.
Now if only I could find those mugs . . . .