One family I know celebrates Mother’s Day every year by setting up long tables and inviting everyone from second cousins to close friends and church members. It’s a festive occasion punctuated by cheerful laughter and old family stories. The tradition always includes dish after dish of beautiful, gourmet food that is savored for hours on end.
As the afternoon comes to a close, there is a special Champagne tradition they observe. Someone pulls out a few bottles of good bubbly and serves it in antique flutes picked up throughout the year at various estate sales. Toasts are given and then the guests retire to their own homes, each with a crystal flute for a memento of the special day.
For your own celebration, set the table with pretty spring linens, fresh flowers, and crystal. In the weeks leading up to your event, collect something thoughtful and special - like the Champagne flutes - to send home with your guests. Above all, try these French, spring-inspired recipes for a menu sure to please everyone.
Every group has a mix of the health-conscious, the caffeine-addicted, teetotalers, social drinkers, and children. Here’s a selection of cocktail and coffee recipes to keep everyone happy.
- Virgin Belgian Orange Blossom
- Lemon Pressé
- Cardinal Cocktail
- Iced Café Mocha Noisette
- Sparkling mineral water
These dishes are really just to whet the appetite. Arrange them on a table along with drinks and you have the first portion of your party effortlessly planned.
Have two heated tureens of soup at the ready. Make sure to include a light version and a rich bisque to accommodate all appetites.
SaladHave a few versatile salads to accompany the soup. This course works best if you have a recipe that can be served at room temperature or chilled.
In France, every table must have a selection of bread - it’s a matter of good hospitality. These recipes are easy to make and are a nice touch for a holiday table.
Palate cleansers seem elaborate, but in reality are very easy to prepare. Impress your guests with one of these refreshing, make-ahead sorbets.
This part is the focus of every meal. Roasted chicken, a quiche, and hearty vegetable stew provide a little something for every taste and diet.
Coffee and Tea
End the meal with a soothing cup of coffee or herbal tea along with the dessert course.
No French celebration would be complete without a sumptuous collection of fantastic desserts to be savored slowly with freshly-brewed coffee.
It’s a charming tradition to give guests a little something to take home with them. Here are two classic French candies sure to be appreciated by all.
The Champagne Toast
Last, but certainly not least, we can't leave out the toast. It needn't be done with expensive Champagne; there is crisp, delicious sparkling wine to fit every budget. Here is great selection of French bubbly that can be had for between $10-$40/per bottle. Enjoy!
- Saint-Hilare, Blanquette de Limoux, Blanc de Blancs NV $10
- Lucien Albrecht, Crémant d'Alsace, Brut NV $20
- Leclerc Briant, Cuvée de Reserve Brut NV $30
- Chateau de Boursault, Brut Rose de Saignee NV $35
- Billecart-Salmon, Brut Reserve NV $40