Turn your summer BBQ into an elegant soiree

When planning your summer party, thinking beyond the traditional BBQ will make your gathering even more special for your guests.

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When planning your summer party, thinking beyond the traditional BBQ will make your gathering even more special for your guests.

Here are some creative ways to entertain friends and loved ones during the warmest months of the year.

While serving hamburgers and hotdogs are a safe go-to for summer parties, why not infuse some style by planning an elegant French-themed soiree or chic garden party for your guests to enjoy?

From décor to dress code to menu, a French soiree or garden party should have a luxurious feel. Be thoughtful when creating atmosphere by adding fresh flowers, linen napkins and colorful crockery. Tailor the menu to match the party’s appearance for an even more memorable experience.

Kick off your party with finger food appetizers to greet your guests upon arrival. These starters should be light and summer-friendly with an elegant presentation. A delicious starter is sliced toasted baguettes topped with tuna and Boursin cheese and garnished with chives, capers and a sprinkle of pepper.

A cold salad is a winning choice for this time of the year. A simple, yet classic French choice is Salade Niçoise. Simply combine tomatoes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, and anchovies, and dress with a vinaigrette. Another festive option is oysters on the half shell. The recipe is surprisingly simple and affordable. Clean and shuck the oysters, then top with lemon juice and a cucumber mignonette sauce, for a cool treat that is sure to wow your guests.

A refreshing meal would be a mesclun, avocado and sea scallop salad. The dish contains slices of avocado, chopped mesclun, onion and sprigs of mint leaves with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Delicately sear sea scallops and serve over the salad for a delicious, yet light meal.

With the menu set, don’t forget about the wine. White and light red wines are best served during a summer soiree.

Pair light seafood, seasonal vegetables and fruit dishes, with a Louis Jadot Chablis (SRP: $25.99), a traditional French white wine with refreshing acidity and a clean finish. It offers a bright taste with floral aromas, along with citrus and mineral flavors. This wine will pair with any of mentioned appetizers or lobster and crab dishes for a delightful meal experience.

Frederic Barnier, technical director of Maison Louis Jadot, one of the most trusted wine houses in Burgundy, recommends a light red Beaujolais-Villages, such as the Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2015 (SRP: $13.99). Simply chill a bottle in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before serving to enjoy the fresh berry flavors on a warm summer evening.

“This crisp, fruit-forward, juicy wine has expressive aromas and flavors of ripe red berries, with nice weight in the mouth. It has nice acidity and tannins, and will pair well with seared tuna, salmon or grilled chicken.”

Make the most of your summer soiree with chilled beverages, refreshing food and upscale décor to match. Bringing a French experience to your table will make you the star host or hostess of the summer!

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