The French Dinner Party


french dinner party cropped

One of my early attempts preparing a multi-course meal is the French dinner party. It set the standard for all our ensuing group gatherings. I don’t know what made me think I could do it. It was part yearning for classic French dishes unavailable locally, but maybe I just wanted to prove that I could. It was ambitious and I spent a great deal of time planning, but that’s a secret to success – at anything.

place setting

The seven course sit-down meal, celebrating a lifelong friendship with a visiting guest came off without a hitch…

Well, not exactly. There was one little itty-bitty mistake on the dessert course, but it didn’t spoil our fun.

Table setting

This celebration required the good silver, crystal glassware and French white china with fresh flowers, of course!

Coquille St. Jacques


coquille st jacques

Dinner began with a glass of Lillet Blanc followed by scallops gratineed with white wine, shallots and herbs. You can learn how easy it is to make this delicious dish HERE.

Paired with a 2014 Vouvray, it’s a perfect balance of sweet and dry to complement the scallops. Vouvray is a white wine made from chenin blanc grapes grown on the banks of the River Loire.

Seared Foie Gras and Calvados Reduction on Toast Points


french dinner party foie gras

A French menu is not complete without goose or duck liver, fattened by gavage according to French law. It’s one of the primary French food groups all by itself. This is seared, then bathed in a Calvados and apple reduction on a toast point. Learn to make this dish HERE.

The perfect pairing for foie gras is a sweet dessert wine. I did find a bottle of Caves Cuilleron – 2007 Roussilliere, a hidden gem from the Rhone Valley.

Lime Sorbet

fresh lime sorbet 1

Two very rich dishes require something to cleanse and re-set the palate. This home-made fresh lime sorbet did just that. Get the recipe HERE.

Chilled Potato and Leek Soup


Vichyssoise with chives and cracked black pepper is the ultimate French soup for me. You can find my recipe HERE.

Our wine pairing is a 2014 Regis Bouvier Marsannay Clos Du Roy. This beautiful French white burgundy was perfect for the silky smooth soup.

Coq Au Vin

the french dinner party coq au vin

Directly translated as rooster with wine, this is another French classic. Served over brown buttered egg noodles it made for a satisfying main. I can honestly say this was better than any other I have ever tasted and you can find my recipe HERE.

Our wine pairing is a 2013 Georges Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Clos De Ormes Burgundy. This ruby red pinot noir is bursting with fruit and enough acidity to cut the fat and butter of the coq au vin.

Les Fromages


A French dinner is not complete without a traditional cheese course following the mains. Our selections are a tangy blue cheese, Manchego, a raw sheep’s milk, organic goat and Gruyere.  A little crusty bread with genuine French blackberry and apricot jams gilded the lily. Following five previous courses I was surprised how quickly this all disappeared!

Crepes Suzette

the french dinner party crepes suzette

I erred in the creation of the classic crepes in orange sauce, but it did not go uneaten. You can read about it and how to do it right if you click HERE. This image is of the properly prepared dessert fit for a King.

Mandarin Napoleon Grande Liqueur and its trademark bite of mandarin oranges paired wonderfully with the crepes.

The Moral of the Story

This is one of the early dinners along my culinary journey and I hope it might encourage you to step out of your comfort zone to create something new. You can do anything you set your mind to. The only thing you need is the resolve to do it.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!