By Kitchen Moxie's Tracey Doull for GalTime.com
The season premiere of Downton Abbey is finally here. This Sunday we'll learn the long-awaited fate of Mary, baby George and the rest of the residents of Crawley manor.
What better way to celebrate than by hosting your very own Crawley-worthy dinner party? You don't need Mr. Carson, Mrs. Hughes or Mrs. Patmore to help pull this one off, either!
Here are a few of my favorite tips to help you pull off a Downton Abbey inspired dinner like a true aristocrat.
Start by Setting the Scene:
-Appearance is everything at Downton, so make sure you put the extra effort into creating the perfect setting for this blue blood feast.
-Ask that your guests dress up for the occasion (no lady's maid or valet required!).
-Set a table of which Mr. Carson would be proud. Use a simple white tablecloth with your best china and silverware, and make sure to include silverware for each course. To ensure that everything is symmetrical, use a ruler to measure the distance between plates and silverware. And don't forget the candles!
For the Menu:
-When your guests arrive, forgo the cocktails and canapés and head right into the dining room to be seated.
-Include a wine pairing with each course, including a dessert wine or port for the end of the evening.
-Channel your inner Mrs. Patmore and tackle both a first and second course. A creamy carrot parsnip soup followed by a simple salad works well.
-For the main course, serve roast beef with pan gravy, roast potatoes, parsnips and baby carrots.
-After the main course and prior to dessert, serve a plate of cheese and biscuits, including some British favorites like cheddar cheese, Red Leicester or Stilton.
-Serve a delicious fruit pavlova for the perfect ending to the meal.
Impress Your Guests with a Little Silver Service.
Although you don't have Thomas, Alfred and James at your service, make sure that you serve your guests with the same refinement as the Downton footmen.
-Begin by serving your guests to their left and clearing from their right. First, serve the most important female guest other than the hostess (think the Dowager Countess!) Next serve the host -- your very own Lord Grantham -- and continue around the table clockwise.
-Place heated dinner plates in front of your guests (from the right) prior to serving the main course.
-Place the main course on heated individual serving platters and walk around the table, allowing guests to help themselves. Make sure to go in on their left with the utensils ready!
-Serve a pre-plated dessert in the same order as the other courses. When dessert is finished, have the ladies make their way to the drawing room (or the living room!) for some after-dinner drinks and chocolates. The ladies can have some time for a little girl talk, leaving the men to join shortly thereafter.
Tracey Doull is a regular contributor for GalTime.com. She is also the founder of Kitchen Moxie, where dinner party success is simple and stress-free with over 50 unique menu ideas, delicious recipes and step-by-step instructions for pulling it all together on the big night.