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the party circuit

Throw the ultimate party: top 5 trends in entertaining

You heard it: the starting bell for the party season. And as a host, or hostess, with a reputation to uphold, what else can you do but outdo your last soirée? To help you throw the ultimate party—one your guests will rave about until you throw your next party—Sebastian Centner, director of Toronto-based Eatertainment Special Events, offers up this year’s hottest trends in entertaining.

So macabre, so mysterious. Party themes are going over to the dark side, with settings, lights and props designed to create an atmosphere that’s disarmingly sensual and shrouded in a veil of intrigue. Think Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, complete with masks and lush velvet curtains. To put your guests in the mood, Centner

suggests red lighting, crystal accessories, and black velvet masks to hand to partygoers as they arrive at the door. For added intrigue, send out invitations but keep the location a secret until guests have RSVP’d.

Location, location, location. The best new places to party, says Centner, are venues that are usually

above: Performance art: unleashing the aroma

not used for parties—like the showroom of a Porsche of green tea smoke dealership, or the cool downtown loft of a globe- trotting fashion photographer. For most people, reserving these places for a private party would be an unlikely story, as in it’s not gonna happen. But party planners with clout should be able to get you and your posse into an unusual and exclusive venue, which of course you’ll keep secret from your guests until they confirm attendance. Local flavours, out of this world. The “local flavours plus” movement—which puts great emphasis on foods grown by local producers—will continue to find its way into some of the best parties in the country, says Centner. The idea isn’t to eliminate ingredients that come from afar but rather to use as many local products as you can. Environmentally conscious guests will appreciate the effort, not to mention the fresh taste of food that didn’t have to travel too far to make it to your party. Food as performance art. Dinner isn’t going to be served at this season’s hottest parties; it will be presented—in ways that are almost magical. Picture green tea smoked beef sushi, one of the latest food innovations at Eatertainment. Tea leaves in butter are burned to create a dense smoke. Domed glasses are filled with the smoke, then placed over thin slices of beef. “So when you get to the table, the smoke is still swirling in the glass,” explains Centner, “and when the guests lift the glass, they get this beautiful aroma of green tea mixed with the flavour of the dish.” Break out the bubbly. Champagne is once again the toast of the town, and not just for weddings or New Year’s Eve parties. Centner says the bubbly is back big time, in cocktails that pair champagne with such flavourful partners as freshly squeezed pear juice or a splash of cassis. “People are demanding novel cocktails,” observes Centner. His personal favourite: blackberry martini finished with a lime-infused foam. Yum.

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