One of my favorite holiday traditions doesn't happen in December... we save it for the deep and dark days of January: my annual Soup & Sweaters Party!
This is an event I dreamed up with my dear friend Travis. We wanted to cohost a holiday party, but December was so overbooked for us and our friends that we couldn't find a date that worked in everyone's busy social calendar. So we thought, why not put something together in January, when nobody has anything to do and we're all battling the winter blues? We could throw a shindig where the only agenda was comfort, simplicity, and loving vibes. No cocktail attire or fancy hors d'ouevres... we would serve an array of cozy soups, and ask our guests to wear a fuzzy sweater, and drink a LOT of wine. And thus, Soup & Sweaters was born--- and has since become a highly anticipated annual occasion among our whole crew.
It wasn't until this year that I started to hear about the Danish custom of 'Hygge': defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” In short, exactly the essence of our annual gathering. I'd love this to become a growing movement... you don't need a fireplace in a Nordic cabin; all you really need is a few crock pots, an open heart, and some good wine.
How To Host a 'Soup & Sweaters' Party
To Eat: Gather Your Crock Pots, We're Having A Soup Buffet
Step 1: Set it & Forget It
Gather up as many crock pots as you can find or borrow: a good surge-proof power strip can turn any flat surface into a delicious soup buffet! Such an easy party idea because once the crock pots are warm and soup-filled, there's nothing else you as a host need to do. I love a low-maintenance party.
This year we served Turkey Chili with all the fixins (sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped scallions, fresh cilantro), French Onion with Gruyere croutons, Wisconsin Cheddar Beer (with popcorn to top it off with, don't know where Travis got that idea but it rocked), Fresh Herb Tomato, Kale + White Bean, and Chicken & Dumplings. I've found that it's best to make a little more than you think you will need, and also great to have a couple veggie options.
Step 2: Don't Forget the Cozy Carbs
Baskets and platters of loaves & rolls are key. You can hit up your local bakery or even Trader Joe's for some good carb-i-ness. I also made cheddar jalapeno cornbread and fresh baked goat cheese drop biscuits, because fresh baked home cooking is the essence of 'Hygge'.
LUSH TIP: this is an occasion that definitely calls for paper bowls and napkins and plastic silverware. The point is to be as easy on the hosts as possible, and these will save hours of cleanup!
To Drink: Lush-Approved 'Hygge' Wines
I recommend floral and fruity Alpine whites, smooth and fresh easy-drinking reds, and of course bubbles of any variety, like these bottles below. Click to get shopping, and cheers!