Though the holidays have come and gone, there’s no reason to stop entertaining at home. In fact, on her brand-new series, Giada Entertains, Sundays at 11a|10c, Giada De Laurentiis will show you just how easy and enjoyable it can be to host celebrations big and small, for special occasions and anytime get-togethers alike. Recently FN Dish checked in with Giada to find out more about her penchant for party planning and to learn just which of her events she credits with being the most memorable. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Giada and learn her go-to tips on how to shop for your next party.
What do you hope fans learn from Giada Entertains?
Giada De Laurentiis: That all it takes to throw a great party is a little creativity.
Tell us a bit about your passion for parties. How did you come to enjoy entertaining so much?
GDL: Through my family. Italians love to entertain and to cook for our families. It’s how we show people we love them — through the food.
What’s your favorite kind of party to throw?
GDL: Girls’ night in! Or vacation in your kitchen — you don’t have to go far to enjoy a vacation; you can bring it to your house!
In general, what’s the best way to determine how much alcohol to buy and how much food to prepare for a cocktail party? How do the rules change when the party offers a full meal?
GDL: Appetizer-wise, I would say four pieces per person is the average. Drinks are a bit tougher. It depends on the guests you’re inviting, but two drinks for the first hour is the norm, and after that it tapers off. I always overbuy alcohol, though, since it doesn’t go bad. You can always use it the next time around.
For a dinner party, guests will be eating more, so I would be more prepared to serve more beverages. But for an evening like that, I may start with bubbles or one specific specialty cocktail, then move to wine and maybe finish with a nip of amaro. Each bottle of wine will yield five to six glasses, so if you are keeping it classy, assume one and a half to two glasses of each wine per guest.
On Giada Entertains you’ll share helpful tips on music and decor pairings for each of the gatherings you host. But in general, are there any rules of thumb for the overall vibe to keep in mind when planning a party?
GDL: I always have an activity to involve my guests: a game, a signature cocktail that’s interactive or a craft for the kids.
Tell us a bit about the most-memorable party you’ve ever thrown. What were you celebrating, what kind of food and drinks did you serve, and who attended?
GDL: Jade’s first birthday. It was the most-exciting party I ever threw. It was a duel birthday, really — for her, and because I survived the first year of being a mother. It felt like a miracle!
What are a few things you think every host or hostess should remember when planning a get-together?
GDL: That there’s some kind of food for everyone, and that there’s a game or some sort of activity to keep the vibe going so it doesn’t lull. I always like a good cocktail too. And for the people who don’t drink, make sure there’s a festive cocktail for them (something other than sparkling water) so they can participate.
What’s your favorite kind of present to receive as a hostess? And when you’re a guest, what kind of gift do you like to bring your hosts?
GDL: My favorite to give is an edible gift — sometimes I’ll give one of my cookbooks with a recipe that I made out of it. If they like it, they can re-create it later! My favorite to receive is an orchid or some kind of small succulent. I love having fresh flowers in the house.