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New Year’s Traditions to Treasure

Traditions are a part of our culture and serve as an anchor for celebrations from generation to generation. During the holidays we treasure the traditions we’ve established with friends,  family and in our community. One of the most time honored of those is how we ring in the New Year. From champagne toasts and midnight kisses to game nights and countdowns in city squares, celebrating a new year has a common thread for all of us.

Why Champagne?

One of the most enduring New Year’s tradition involves a special beverage. A New Year’s Party isn’t complete without a champagne toast at midnight, but why?

It all began when Champagne was first produced roughly 15-hundred years ago. At the time it was a flat wine product fermented in the champagne region of France and was shipped in barrels and drunk right away.¹

Eventually champagne was left to sit a few months longer, allowing it to ferment and produce the bubbles it is now known for. French vintners began shipping it in bottles, rather than barrels, to maintain the effervescence and soon European nobles and wealthy merchants alike were demanding a bit of the “bubbly” for special occasions.

Wine has long been a part of New Year’s eve celebrations – first in religious rituals ,then in secular ceremonies. Champagne’s reputation as a wine “fit for the gods” and as the ultimate celebratory beverage has been reinforced by today’s marketing and has led to the traditional midnight champagne toast.

Food and Champagne

Wondering what to serve with champagne for your party? It is best with pastas in cream sauce and is known as a regular partner to oysters and  lobster. But champagne can pair quite well with simple foods such as these:

Fried mushrooms

Mac-n cheese

Corn dogs with Dijon mustard

Vegetarian chili

Fish tacos

Looking to create something special for your New year’s eve menu? Try some of these recipes

 

The Kiss

It is said that a kiss at the stroke of midnight will mean a year full of love. It is common for couples to participate in this long-standing tradition, but often families and friends hug and kiss each other on the cheek as a way to ensure that the year ahead will continue to be marked with friendship and familial love too.

Here’s a List of some great New year’s kissing scenes on film!

The “drop”

The most notable New Year’s Eve drop takes place each year in Times Square in New York. The 10-second countdown as the glittering ball slides down the pole serves as a visual marker for the moment when one year ends and another begins. It is also cause for a gathering that attracts thousands of people from all over.

In many other cities drops occur as a local event. In 1989, Atlanta began the “peach drop” at Underground Atlanta. In the past, the drop has attracted more than 100-thousand revelers. This year, however,  it may not be announced until closer to the date whether or not there will be a drop. Last year there was also a last-minute notification of the event.²

The day after

A New Year’s Day brunch is a tradition that has many sleepy people gathering to feast on such classics as black-eyed peas, collards, and cornbread. The notion that black-eyed peas bring good luck for the new year actually began 1,500 years ago and was a Jewish custom. It spread to the southern United States in the 18th century and has become a regular feature on the first day of the year.³

Tradition holds that also serving greens, such as collards, represents wealth in the new year and that cornbread represents gold. Whatever you eat, it’s fun to celebrate the New Year with some long-standing traditions.

Try something new

Not a fan of black-eyed peas or collards – order some of our delicious breakfast items and start your own tradition!

 

sources:

¹https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2012-12-31/why-do-we-drink-champagne-on-new-year-s-eve

²http://www.newyearsevelive.net/cities/atlanta-georgia.html

³http://americanfood.about.com/od/resourcesadditionalinfo/a/New-Years-Day-Tradition-Black-Eyed-Peas.htm

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Big, Small, Easy or Gourmet – Holiday Entertaining Your Way

Entertaining this time of year takes on an entirely different meaning as we are all focused on enjoying the holidays.  Personally, I love to decorate and I spend countless hours bringing up boxes, assembling villages, decorating trees and arranging my favorite collections of snow globes, figurines and snowmen.  If you’re like me and have gone to extremes to decorate for the holiday season, why not entertain so your friends and community neighbors can enjoy your decorating efforts?

Holiday entertaining can be as complex or easy as you decide to make it.  I can tell you I have done it both ways, and each party format has its own merits.  Obviously, it depends on what type of gathering you’d like to have.  Do you want to have an intimate dinner setting with a few close friends, or do you want to entertain your extended family, community neighbors and friends near and far?  Here are a few party ideas to help you enjoy your holiday entertaining big or small!

Enjoying the BIG Holiday Party

Entertaining large groups can be challenging but also fun and rewarding. If you’re considering inviting a large group to your home during the holidays, do as much as you can in advance so you end up enjoying your party time as much as your guests do.

Look for finger food recipes (Pinterest is a great resource) that can be prepared in advance and if you’re serving hot items, consider a warming tray so you don’t have to spend your time reheating.  Sliced meats can be a great party item as they don’t have to be hot.  They can be served with flavored mayo (check out our recent blog post flavored mayos A-Z for some great ideas) and an assortment of breads.

Keep your bar area away from the food and mingling area to keep traffic flowing, and place small bowls with snacks spread throughout the area for guests to munch on. If you are serving alcohol, consider a festive punch to keep costs down.  Bottles of wine can add up quickly, and a nice, sparkling punch will go a long way with thirsty guests.

Impress your guests with a gourmet steakhouse quality meal.

This dish may sound a bit intimidating, and is not for the faint of heart (or those who can’t whisk up a Bearnaise) but I assure you, you’ll have one of the best meals of your life if you give this recipe a try.  If you know how to rock your double boiler and your goal is to serve a steakhouse quality meal to an intimate group of guests, this recipe will not disappoint.  Emeril’s Lobster-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Bearnaise Sauce…need I say more?  Okay, I will…imagine a whole tenderloin, butterflied, and stuffed with steamed lobster, a pancetta-vegetable mixture and finished with Bearnaise sauce.  WOW, right?

This dish is just delicious and can be found in its entirety on foodnetwork.com as it’s a bit long to share in this post.  There’s not much else you will need to accompany this extraordinarily rich dish, except possibly some steamed asparagus or potato side, as long as you keep it simple.  Serve along with a nice Cabernet and enjoy your efforts in the kitchen!

Easy does it, with a little help from Atlanta Bread.

No matter what type party you’re having, every hostess needs a little help now and then!  Our catering menu can save you when you’re in a pinch.  We have wonderful appetizer and snack trays that are perfect for holiday entertaining.  Our Veggie Fresco Selection Tray comes with fresh, healthy vegetables and your choice of sauces.  It’s the perfect complement to your party spread.

Need a bit more help?  Head on over to our catering menu to see the variety of items we have to add to your table.  Choose from desserts, soups and salads, sandwich platters, fruit trays, or our Crisps N’ Cheese Tray to complete your party.  Spend more time enjoying your guests…these are your holidays too!  Happy Entertaining!