Winter Solstice Party

Celebrate the coming of light.

Winter Solstice Party

Every year I have a Winter solstice party. This year, I wasn't able to have the party on solstice itself due to other commitments, so I was pretty psyched to see that Santa Lucia was the weekend before. Santa Lucia is a Scandinavian festival of lights to help the northerners get through the darkest days of the year. The festival's namesake is a blond-braided saint who would come on the darkest day of winter bearing light (by way of a candle crown) and fresh pastries - my kind of holy woman!

Growing up, my family celebrated Santa Lucia and I had the honor of wearing the (fake) candle crown and offering pastries, so it was fun to bring back this great tradition. Thus, we were able to throw a solstice party not on solstice itself, but still keep our heads held high. And yes, I did wear a candle crown of sorts made from fresh Christmas tree fronds and a battery-powered string of lights. Below are some of the fun aspects included in this year's celebration of moving into brighter days.

Solstice Chandelier: I love live Christmas trees for their smell, authenticity, and how good they make you feel when you return home to them. However, they are also expensive and not very environmentally-friendly. A few years ago, I discovered that Christmas tree lots gladly let you take extra fronds they cut from trees - for free! After some faulty attempts and creating a tree myself and the discovery that it worked much better when strung together and hung upside-down, the Christmas (or Solstice) Chandelier was born. And I am not looking back! Next year I hope to get it together in time to create a complete how-to guide. 

The party menu consisted of a wide variety of small bites (below) washed down with (naturally) a big bowl of classy punch. The punch of choice was Royal Pomme Punch, a blood orange, apple jack, and champagne punch that works great for holiday parties.

Creamy, tart chèvre backdrop with sweet, crunchy honeycomb, and rustic sage.

Creamy, tart chèvre backdrop with sweet, crunchy honeycomb, and rustic sage.

Pickled green walnuts are perfectly balanced by sharp cheddar and fresh chervil.

Pickled green walnuts are perfectly balanced by sharp cheddar and fresh chervil.

The punch of the hour, Royal Pomme, with blood orange, apple jack, champagne, and bitters.

The punch of the hour, Royal Pomme, with blood orange, apple jack, champagne, and bitters.