This summer I instituted a new tradition - Friday night drinks on the deck. It's kind of an open invitation to my girlfriends. If it's Friday, I'm on the deck, and there will be cocktails, wine, and snacks; everyone is welcome. I love the social aspect, and I feel like it's a great way to take advantage of our property and our relatively short summer season.
I've served some different things over these past few weeks. From guacamole and chips to mini-pizzas done on the BBQ. It's never anything fancy, but always something tasty can you pick at and nibble on while chatting and giggling with friends. And it has to easy and stress-free, because I want my focus to be on my guests and enjoying the summer breeze.
Deli trays seem to be a big hit with my girls, so I've done those more than once. It's easy to buy one ready made, but not hard at all to pull one together on your own. Choose 2 or 3 favourite cheeses, a couple of sliced deli meats, olives, or grapes, and crackers. To make it super easy for your guests, choose firmer cheese and serve it already sliced or cubed.
I often see trays served with knives and the big chunks of cheese, and they look really lovely, but they make a bit more work for your guests. Pre-sliced makes snacking super easy. For this tray I used Ivanhoe Extra Old Cheddar, and Ivanhoe Salsa cheeses. Both are easily sliced and have great flavour. The Salsa is a blend of Monterey Jack & Cheddar, with salsa flavouring, bringing a tasty Tex-Mex touch to your deli tray. I added concord grapes for some sweet. And naturally we had some lovely red wine to wash it all down.
Ivanhoe is part of the Gay Lea Foods family, and has been in operation for well over a century. They began as a small co-op, specialising in artisan aged cheddars, and now produce a range of specialty cheeses including smoked gouda, horseradish cheddar, flavoured goat cheddars, and more. They have a plant in Madoc, ON, where you can visit and actually watch the cheese being made, and pick up something yummy in the Ivanhoe Country Store.
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Do you have a favourite summer entertaining staple? What would you serve to your guests? School may be back soon, but there's still a lot of summer weather left to be enjoyed!
Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.