I’m all about celebrating the little things in life and a holiday as well known as St. Patrick’s Day but not as big as Christmas, is right up my alley because it’s the perfect opportunity to do something fun, themed and special! My Italian family always gave a nod to the Irish on March 17th by making corn beef and cabbage dinner and though it is delicious, it’s not really a dinner that I want to currently commit to making. Additionally, getting beer sloppy at the bars is a moment in time that has come and gone. So, I decided to put together a little beer tasting event and thanks to my friends at Whole Foods San Francisco, I got some delicious brew to share!
Since this event was planned as a classy, more feminine but fun day drinking afternoon, I picked a color palette of pinks, golds and of course GREEN! (Don’t wanna get pinched now do you?!) I added some wood detailing as well to give a bit of a rustic vibe. (Check out my tree bark server tray! You can buy it here!) Fortunately, it tied in nicely with my kitchen decor in general so the whole thing really looked lovely.
Tassels and any sort of similar garland also add a wonderful burst of color and texture. I picked gold and pink to tie in the vintage lace, pink tea cloth I used as a runner (it was my great grandmother’s!) as well as the coins and other gold details. It definitely made the table look like a party and less just like a serving table. I love the festive vibe!
No decor is ever complete in my opinion without some sort of plant. I love greenery and flowers and I know there is often an argument that they don’t last long but that just makes them even more special to me. You have to soak up the enjoyment and appreciate it while it lasts! I chose eucalyptus as they are soft and delicate looking but their leaf shape is unique and they add an ethereal quality to any decor. For a touch of flowers, I picked pink ranunculuses because they have this happy, lucky quality that I thought would be fitting on a day that celebrates luck! Then of course Irish Bells for reasons I don’t have to explain. I then tied in this unique, gorgeous baby’s breath like flowers that my friend Loren brought and it really tied the whole thing together! Picking out flowers is one of my favorite parks and it really does transform the whole ambiance!
To tie it all in, I added gold details that really go a long way. I used gold coins to integrate the “pot of gold” Irish theme. Then I used some lights that I had to enhance the eucalyptus, added gold pears for some texture and my gold beer can openers like my pretzel that my boyfriend got me which really was fitting!
Guinness is the obvious choice for a St. Patrick’s Day beer tasting! My boyfriend is a big lover of Guinness so it is always easy to put that on my go-to shopping list for anything in general and the fact that it is Irish beer works out perfectly for this particular event!
Additionally, my friends at Whole Foods SF recommended a few other beers and I took them up on them.
One was the Innis & Gunn Irish Stout which we all enjoyed and thought had a very nice extra kick. It was fitting too since it is aged in Whiskey barrels.
We also tasted some Deschutes Pale Ale which is a local beer. I personally favor the blonder beers since they are a bit lighter so I chose this one to try and thought it would be nice variation from the richer, darker beers! (Though if I am being honest, I think I loved the Innis & Gunn the best but don’t take my word for it! Try it out yourself!)
I served the beer in whiskey glasses and kept it on the beer carrier my sister gifted my boyfriend that was the perfect addition to our St. Patrick’s beer tasting party!
Well you absolutely cannot have any sort of alcohol tasting party (or any party for that matter) without food! I know some people go for the drinks, but I’m always extra happy when I smell the food!
To keep in the spirit of Irish tradition and St. Patrick’s Day, I knew I had to serve something with what else but POTATOES! I wanted to make it finger food friendly so the best idea was french fries! I made them homemade and was sure to garnish with some thyme which always makes everything look delicious!
Next, I added some dipping sauces which of course included a plate of various mustards – honey, dijon and good ole yellow! I also made an aioli recipe my friend Loren gave me. Please see below for the recipes!
I decided to next create a charcuterie plate of sorts that would match the flavor of the mustards and the deep notes of the beers so I got some spinach, artichoke, fontina sausages (that were great with all the dipping sauces too) and put them next to an AnnieGlass plate of olives, marinated artichoke hearts and pickles. The vinegar flavors all parted well together and weren’t too heavy. I garnished that tray with a couple sprigs of rosemary.
For some lighter flavors, Loren made a green fruit salad of kiwis, pears, green apples, and green grapes! It was a refreshing and delicious touch. Afterwards, I brought outcome Poco Dolce Sea Salt Olive Oil chocolate that is San Francisco made and can be bought at Whole Foods which was phenomenal. (Check out Poco Dolce chocolates here.)
All of the snacks paired well together and with the beers and of course, when drinking alcohol, it is always smart to hydrate and cleanse your pallet when tasting so the Pellegrino was necessary!
It’s always good to have some music in the background. My go-tos were Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheerhan, Florence and the Machine, Van Morrison, U2, Bono, Enya and the Cranberries! Why? Because all of them (except Flo, Mumford and Ed who are British!) are all Irish! :o) I couldn’t exclude the other 3 though because I love them so much! I mean I know the Brits and Irish have their beef but I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in London once and it was still very festive and fun!
St. Patrick’s Day may be considered a bit of a fun, festive holiday to us over here in the States but in Ireland, it is treated more like Christmas and has more of a family vibe! It is observed and people have meals with their families. It began as a religious feast in honor of the patron St. of Ireland on the day it is believe that he died in 460 A.D.
French Fries: Heat the oven to 400. Wash, peel and chop up potatoes. Put them on a cooking tray and douce with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Bake until crispy and broil the last 3 minutes. Voila! Add thyme and serve!
Aioli: Add mayo, lemon, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and basil! Mix together and go for the dippings!