Instead of hosting our usual fall soiree the weekend after Thanksgiving like we typically do, this year we decided it would be nice to throw a fall soiree for my birthday. We kept our gathering small (which we would have done regardless) and it was so much fun picking out all of the fresh produce, flowers and cake from our favorite specialty stores that we visit most weekends. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anyone else out there who stands in the middle of the produce department and remarks how beautiful the pears and how they’ve been dreaming of a plump fig for days.
In the weeks prior to the soiree, we were thinking up what florals we wanted for our flower bar (because sending guests home with a flower arrangement they’ve created is such a fun way to remember the event.) The fact that that we wanted to get a naked cake and decorate it ourselves, and what delicious items we would serve on our fall cheese board.
For our table setting we borrowed my sisters chargers, went with two unique paper plates (main course and dessert). Our party favors were a chocolate acorn (Chocolat Boutique) and chocolate leaves (Fresh Market).
We decided to let the flowers and greenery we’d select for our flower bar to be the backdrop for our table versus the two large arrangements we usually do before gatherings…
Our favorite selection of Italian sodas, sparkling lemonades, and other bubbly beverages… For a wide variety of flavors, Whole Foods Italian Sodas are always a good idea, we also had both pink and strawberry sparkling lemonades (Fresh Market) and two options of Izzie sodas (Clementine and Blackberry Lemonade)
Our Fall Cheese Board
Black Forest Ham
Mild Italian Salami
San Daniele Prosciutto
CHEVOO Tupleo Honey & Lime Marinated Chèvre
Fruits & Veggies
Gum Drop Grapes
Cherry Tomatoes (Multi colored)
Chocolate Covered Cherries
Fresh Rosemary (for garnish)
We baked our crostini in the oven at 425 for 5-8 minutes. (Depending on how easily the cheese you’ve selected melts). I also came up with a delicious sweet/savory idea for the next time we made crostini. Once you’ve removed the crostini from the oven drizzle it with your favorite balsamic and then place on your serving dish/board. We covered our wooden serving boards with a layer of clear vinyl plastic (think sleeves via Office Max) so that the oils and balsamic didn’t ruin the surface of our wood. We found our wood serving boards at our local Michaels a few years ago.
This Take & Bake Brie is definitely worth ordering from your local Fresh Market (instead of having to spend forever dealing with the phyllo dough yourself!) When pre-ordering you’ll have several options for jam, but I highly recommend the apricot! It only takes 20-25 minutes in the oven and then it’s ready to serve!
To create our perfect cake for fall, we ordered an undecorated naked cake from Whole Foods with Chantilly Cream Icing and Custard Filling. Next we added some delicious mission figs (I adore figs) and stained glass pears that my mom had created a few nights previously and left in the oven until it was time to decorate the cake and a sprig of rosemary.
Here’s how we created the dehydrated (stained glass) pears…
Slice Bartlett Pears thinly with a mandolin (at 1.0 to 1.5mm). Place them on a baking sheet between 2 silpats. Add another tray on top for added weight. Bake at 200F for 15 minutes until slices are soft and translucent. Carefull remove the top silat and lower temperature to 175F. Keep the pear slices in the often at the low temperature until completely dehydrated (this could take a few hours). Remove from oven and allow the to cool. Remove carefully from the baking sheet.
After enjoying out lunch (and of course a slice of cake), it was time to start making our flower arrangements from our flower bar.
Flower Bar Essentials
Various vases and mason jars (with water)
A variety of season flowers such as: alstroemeria, sunflowers, mums, chrysanthemum, roses, white hydrangeas
Greenery (to add deminsion and fullness) such as ecaluptus, lemon leaves etc)