Sunday, June 12, 2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker: Tuscan Grill Party!

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My husband and I have always wanted to go to Italy together, but that idea is far out of reach, at least anytime soon. So our way of traveling without leaving home is to do it through food. In this case, we traveled to Tuscany, Italy by hosting a special Tuscan Grill Party. Highlighting various Italian dishes on a Tuscan inspired table and setting, our summertime outdoor party was so much fun to host for family and friends. Thanks to the folks of FoodBuzz and Cost Plus World Market, our little Tuscan Grill Party was also selected to be featured on FoodBuzz's Tastemaker program! In our culinary travel to Tuscany, my husband and I prepared quite a spread of Tuscan inspired eats. Our menu included...

Antipasto Platter
(Salami, Crackers, Provolone, Italian Herb & Garlic Cheeseball, Roasted Almonds)

Grilled Bruschetta with a Trio of Toppings
(Fresh tomato & basil, Grated Parmesan & Fig Balsamic, White Bean)


Grilled Caprese Salad


Grilled Shrimp & Artichoke Fettuccine Alfredo

Grilled Tuscan Porterhouse Steak
(Bistecca alla Fiorentina)

Grilled Tuscan Lemon Chicken

Grilled Vegetable Medley
(Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Squash & Zucchini)

Cremini Mushroom Risotto

Italian Chocolate Nutella Ice Cream Cake
(Zuccotto)

Fresh Fruit Basket
(Strawberries, Peaches, Blueberries & Grapes)

Italian Wines, Prosecco Cocktails & Watermelon Lemonade

To set the mood of a Tuscan Grill Party, we set up our backyard with a long, continuous dining table. Tuscan colors include terra cotta red/orange, Tuscan gold, eggplant purple, sage or olive green. I incorporated these colors on our table in a few different ways. We used a neutral tablecloth and Italian Plum buffet napkins for color. I had some serving ware pieces that fit the Tuscan color theme and used those for some of our menu items. To add some rustic notes, woven baskets were also used to serve food, like our bruschetta and fresh fruit. I also purchased some new dinnerware along with some glassware. I also loved the simple white platters I picked up for serving the grilled veggies. For centerpieces, I had some sunflowers in rustic vases and a few tealights to add some soft lighting as the night went on.

We invited our friends Mike and Christine, along with my husband's side of the family. In total, we had 7 guests that joined my husband, son and me for our special Tuscan Grill Party. My son was especially excited to taste his way through Tuscany!

Sadly, it got a bit too cold and windy that we ended up moving our party indoors. It worked out well since some of our guests arrived late due to traffic. They may have missed out on our lovely table, but they were still able to enjoy our Tuscan inspired spread...

Overall, our family and friends who attended had a wonderful time. They definitely enjoyed our delicious travel to Tuscany with us. And if you're looking to travel without leaving home, have yourself a culinary adventure through the food of places you'd love to travel to. It's a fun way to learn about a culture and the best part is you can eat your way through it! For a great place to help decorate and set the mood for your next party, definitely check out Cost Plus World Market! They had a wonderful selection of decor, entertaining pieces, kitchen/dining items and even food and wine. I had fun shopping at Cost Plus World Market for my Tuscan Grill Party and whatever party you decide to put together, I'm sure you'll find something there that will add that special touch. Lastly, stay tuned this coming week for recipes of the dishes I prepared!

Full Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program,
I received a stipend from FoodBuzz & Cost Plus World Market for hosting this event.

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