As a party-thrower, party-goer and party-lover of epic proportions, it starts with an intriguing, entertaining and unexpected guest list (and please don’t tell me you’re having an early night), before segueing to Champagne and my everything-old-is-new favourite, the punch bowl. It also means mastering the art of a great grazing platter (in the age of Instagram, known as an ‘uber’ platter), which you’ll find on page 78 courtesy of our very own Phoebe Wood and Kirsten Jenkins. There’s more to the platter than meets the eye these days, and while there are plenty of hacks and cheats for the time-poor, there is also a return to building the elements from scratch with clever use-it-up techniques, be it chutneys, cheeses, breads, spiced nuts or terrines.
As for other pleasures in this issue, let’s raise a toast to drinks writer Mike Bennie’s ode to spirits that bartenders wish you would try (’tis the season to get among it), Colin Fassnidge’s famous parfait jaffle for straggler’s munchies, Matt Preston’s Vietnamese flavours, and the
delicious. team’s cocktail-inspired desserts or late-night Golden Century feast (after all, many a good party ends at this legendary Sydney haunt). Nor can we forget a well-laid table, and its ability to set a scene or put a personal touch on a trend, according to expert stylists on page 32.
When it comes to throwing a brilliant bash, there are few who match the energy of Justin Hemmes and the prolific Merivale Group. We photographed the fun gathering at Hemmes’ Sydney home with a menu by Dan Hong and Jordan Toft, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they kicked on well past our photo shoot. I’m pleased to say that happens more often than not at our entertaining shoots, which means a job well done for the guest list. And who could forget delicious. favourite Rick Stein, who debuts his new Bannisters restaurant at Port Stephens with a seafood-inspired feast to match. You can even join us at his very first event on site, with the details below.
Melbourne duo Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros showcase their new book, Eat at the Bar, which reveals how their inspiring travels influenced the innovative snacks at Bar Lourinhã, and Shannon Harley hits Mexico’s new hot spot, Valle de Guadalupe, as well as hopping across the border to San Diego. If there’s a better time of year than the month before summer beckons, let me know. I’ll see you by the punch bowl. Or the pool! However you party, make sure you enjoy it yourself. Preparation is key, and ‘impressive but effortless’ is our mantra.