It’s been a few months of speed eating and now we’re all getting comfortable. First, we were in survival mode stockpiling the pantry and fridge with items that could carry us through quarantine mode. What were we thinking? Two, maybe three weeks of extended March Break?  We explored our inner chefs and pumped out sour dough bread like the local bakery. Somehow collectively we’ve given the green light to carb load. Then we craved our favourite dishes from beyond our four walls.  In our home, we’ve decided that one night a week we would order take-out to support our friends in the restaurant business and to keep our sanity. A welcomed break especially for us who’ve always enjoyed eating out pre-pandemic. Then I began to wonder, how can we turn it up? We missed lingering over meals with family and friends too. Could we have a dinner party — virtually?

The delicious idea came to me last week when a spectacular box of goodies was delivered to the door. The box was filled to the brim with savoury Spanish foods and two exquisite bottles of wines from the award-winning winery, Marqués de Riscal. It was a teaser in preparation for a special VIP Wine Tasting event held on Zoom. The event was created by Marqués de Riscal, View the Vibe, and hosted by Angela Aiello (aka @superwinegirl) along with Jose Luis Muguiro (Marqués de Riscal), who offered us a mini-escape to Spain’s beautiful Rioja wine region not only through food and drink but also in culture and music. Fun, yes! But it also reminded me of what I missed – the interaction of being with friends and talking about something other than what’s been on repeat in the news. BTW, this event was so popular they’ve decided to do it again! You can register for (and also there’s a contest for a chance to win) the wine tasting experience that will take flight again on May 28th.  Check View the Vibe Facebook and Instagram pages for all the details.

Several of our friends and family have been looking for ways to connect while staying safe. While we can’t physically gather just yet, a virtual dinner party may just give us enough incentive to get out of our leisurewear for one night.

Restaurants may not be open for dining in, but many are open for taking out. Toronto-based Eatertainment Catering, known for feeding crowds at larger weddings and corporate events, has recently adjusted their business to accommodate at-home food lovers by offering chef-prepared themed dinner sets each available for 2 or 4 people –all you need to do is follow the instructions to reheat. Hmmm…see where I’m going with this? Everyone coordinate a meal delivery and wine on the same night and “zoom” in for the social part!

This inspired us.  So, if you looking for an excuse to get everyone “together/apart” or have a special occasion coming up (birthday, bridal shower, baby shower, Father’s Day, anniversary), here are some  quick tips on recreating your own easy breezy virtual dinner party:

 

FOOD THEME: Transport the night to another country. Spain is a place we adore and a good choice for livening things up.  We recall spending many times ae the Pintxos bars, chatting with people around us, and enjoying all the little plates of flavourful foods accompanied by some of the best wines and Cava. Exploring the nightlife on a warm night and devouring dishes of paella, delicious croquettes and fresh seafood morsels left us with unforgettable travel memories we still share.

WINE: Learn about the wine from the regions and find those hidden gems for conversation starters. Discover the history and any interesting stories that are often found on official websites.  We learned that this mid-1800’s winery in the northern regions of Spain is located in an area known as the “City of Wine” with over 100,000 people visiting the area annually. This winery also is home to a stunning hotel designed by Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry.

MUSIC: It’s easy to create a playlist for a themed dinner – we’ve done this many nights (reggae with Jamaican jerk chicken, traditional Japanese instrumental with sushi, Kpop with Bibimbap). You can create your own playlist or if you have Amazon Music on an Alexa device, just ask Alexa to “play Spanish music” to set the mood.

Wines Information:

Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva (red),
Currently available for Home delivery from the LCBO for $26.70 (subject to change)
https://www.lcbo.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/lcbo/marques-de-riscal-rioja-reserva-32656#.XrDjvxNKg6U

Marques de Riscal Rueda DO (white),
Currently available for Home delivery from the LCBO for $14.65 (subject to change)
https://www.lcbo.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/lcbo/marques-de-riscal-rueda-do-36822#.XrDj2RNKg6U

Marques de Riscal Winery:
https://www.marquesderiscal.com/indexeng.php

Eatertainment Catering: Currently has 6 chef-prepared meals to choose from. Free delivery service Tuesday – Saturday (see site for delivery area).  Choices include Spanish Tapas, Mediterranean, Eastern, Southwestern and more. You can also gift a box to friends and family on their site.