What better way to ring in the New Year than a lively dinner party for six special friends with whom we share a love of food and travel?  For days before the event, humorous e-mails flew back and forth discussing the menu, so the eager participants could budget their prior food consumption accordingly.

Here is the menu that emerged from all the discussion:

New Year’s Eve Dinner, 2012

Pastry cups filled with sour cream and lumpfish caviar — Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

Potato Leek Soup with Stilton Cheese and Sautéed Pears — Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Fennel, Apple & Arugula Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts

Lime Sorbet

Beef Tenderloin with Mustard & Rosemary Roast Potatoes and Asparagus — Cecchi Montepulciano 2007

Assorted Cheeses & Biscuits — Taylor Fladgate Port

Lemon Meringue Tart, Chocolate Raspberry Tart


DSC_0321A supporting cast of cobalt tableware was pressed into service, striking an elegant note with a touch of lightness.  Simple white linens with assorted clear glass candlesticks and votives set the tone, and placemats and runner were employed in place of a formal tablecloth. The centrepiece was an antique clear venetian glass compote, filled with gold balls and white stars.

The Stilton gave a touch of saltiness to the creamy Potato Leek Soup, and the sautéed pears, a hint of sweetness. The Fennel, Apple and Arugula Salad was a crunchy and light counterpoint after the richness of the soup, further enhanced by the intermezzo of lime sorbet.  A filet of rare roast beef was enhanced by the crisp tanginess of Mustard Rosemary Roast Potatoes and simple steamed asparagus.

We lingered over port and cheese. Alex Farm on Bayview Avenue in Toronto has a marvellous selection of imported cheeses, and our selection for the evening included the lovely triple-cream Délice de Bourgogne, Mull of Kintyre (a sensational Scottish smoked cheddar) Colston Basset Stilton, and a runny, unpasteurized French Brie, all accompanied by tangy green seedless grapes and thinly sliced baguette. The lemon meringue and chocolate raspberry tarts from Rahier Patisserie filled in any unoccupied chinks.

We greeted the New Year with much joy and thankfulness to be among such wonderful friends.

I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.