Travel Loot

14 Ingredients for a Mediterranean Dinner Party

by Becky Cheang

Photos (from top left): Haig's Delicacies baklava sampler (photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma); Riad el Fenn in Marrakech (photo by Stephanie March); Tapas hand-painted pitcher (photo courtesy of JCPenny); Rosanna Calypso long tray (photo courtesy of Layla Grace)

Every Wednesday in Travel Loot, we find the best travel products to match our featured destination of the week. This week, we're cruising around the Mediterranean.

A good friend came back from a recent trip to Marrakech high on the souks, the teas, the aromas. I invited her over for brunch, and she brought a gorgeous Moroccan teapot as a present. Ever since, I've been planning my dream Mediterranean dinner party. Here's how I'll do it.

Throw pillows

Just one of so many pillows. Photo courtesy of Anthropologie.

SET THE TABLE

First, I'll set out a diffuser ($66) with grapefruit, black currant, pomegranate, and Italian blood orange scents so guests can smell the Mediterranean the minute they arrive.

I like blue, a lot. (The color of the sea!) There will be pillows, lots of pillows ($58-88). I also love this long tray ($30) for its classic Greek key pattern. Lemons and figs make for pretty centerpieces.

chorizo sampler

Tasty, meaty snacks. Photo by James Ransom / Courtesy of Food52.

MEZE

There are so many amazing Mediterranean appetizers, I could skip the main course. Cheeses, for sure. Maybe a traditional Greek sheep's milk cheese like Kafelograviera ($10). With a dollop of spicy Italian goodness like Mostarda Mediterranea ($25). Olives, grapes, salted nuts, dried figs, and dates will round out the cheese plate.

Now for cured meats from Spain: sliced jamón ibérico ($15) and a chorizo sampler ($24).

For booze, I'll serve sangria or ouzo-lemon spritzers in a hand-painted pitcher ($45). 

le creuset tangine

Impressive tagines. Photo courtesy of Hayneedle.

MAIN COURSE

I will start early and draw inspiration from great Mediterranean cookbooks like Moro: The Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark ($21) and The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert ($29).

I'll definitely invest in a Le Creuset tagine ($200) for a simple lamb or chicken tagine. (Here's a nice recipe with lemon and mint couscous.) And I'll slather harissa ($13) on a delicious bean salad.

Torrone

Sweet, sweet torrone. Photo courtesy of Nudo Italia.

DESSERT

Torrone with almonds and orange honey ($8) is a classic Sicilian treat. (We wrote about it on Popupla.) And although I love Turkish baklava, I'm terrified about making it. One day. Till then, baklava samplers ($40) will do.


BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE

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