Monday, October 27, 2008

A Halloween To Die For

Although I have never been one for throwing thematic parties, I am more than enthusiastic to be a guest at a themed party. Last weekend I had the privilege of attending an excellent pumpkin carving extravaganza at the home (and garden) of my friend Alex. The fĂȘte was B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Pumpkin), and began with drinks and aperitifs indoors before moving the party outside to the private garden for a few hours of very intricate pumpkin carving.

The party began with a tall glass of Witches Brew, a lovely fall beverage of sparkling apple cider steeped with delicious and aromatic spices like clove and cinnamon. Always the consummate hostess and a serious Halloween lover through and through, Alex adorned (and chilled) our beverages with black widow ice cubes. Several glasses later we mauled the devil themed menu, starting with a party throwback classic: deviled eggs. Next to them was my favorite original Alex dish--a sandwich-come-baked Monte Cristo. Encased in puff pastry and slightly sweet, it's the perfect bite and only slightly spicy from a thin layer of mustard.

Next came bite-sized versions of Louisiana Deviled Crab Cakes, which were quite spicy in their own right, served alongside an extra devilish (and spicy!) chipotle mayo. Helping us cool down from all of the delicious and devilish dishes was a lovely Cranberry Walnut Bread with a side of Bianca cheese. The soft, spreadable and only slightly tart cheese was a perfect cool contrast to both the sweet bread and the spicy dishes on the menu.

When the meal was over we shuffled out into the garden and carved and scraped until our pumpkins had officially become (very sophisticated) jack o' lanterns. When the daytime turned to dusk we washed our hands of pumpkin pulp and made our way back indoors for a treat. Waiting for us inside was a shining apple galette and chocolate spider cookies (those are yummy salted pretzels acting as legs). With a few more sips of Witches Brew and a small photo session by the pumpkin display, we set off for home, full-bellied and blissful. Many thanks to Alex for the outstanding party, delicious treats, and the excellent company. I can't wait for next year!


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