Catching up with friends with good food and perhaps a beverage or two is pretty much one of my favourite things to do. Add a little summertime warmth and sunshine to that equation, plus a patio with an epic view of the city, and you have my idea of a perfect day. I love to entertain, Iove to feed people – and because I am so serious about eating good quality food myself, of course I want to serve the best to my guests as well. I’ve been told I take this a little too seriously – I’ve been known to agonize over a detail or two more than anybody thinks I should. At least that’s what my husband has told me. Ok I’ll admit it… I’m a little bit picky about what I eat, so why wouldn’t I be that way for the people that I choose to spend my time with? It’s not about things being expensive. I want things to taste good and look beautiful, and if they can be considered nutritious as well, then even better.
But let’s face it, caring about these kinds of details is the difference between opening a few bags of cheezies and being done with it, and offering the people that you like and love something of quality. I do have a fondness for cheezies, mind you, mostly for reasons of nostalgia. They’re just not so great for anyone. I’m aiming for an elevated snacking experience these days.
Speaking of elevated, some very good friends of mine just happen to have a seriously epic rooftop patio. #Views of the city and all that times a thousand. It is an especially gorgeous place to hang out in the summer, and definitely calls for an equally awesome spread of food and drink. They are always so awesome when it comes to feeding their guests. So the last time they invited me over for an afternoon rooftop hangout, I decided I would bring the food and wine. I gathered up a bottle of sparkling and one of my new favourite rosé (thank you Jamie Drummond for the reco), a selection of delicious cheese and fig jam from the temple of all things gourmet and cheese-tastic in Toronto: Cheese Boutique, a few other edible odds and ends including these amazing crackers made from kale juice pulp , and of course, my Krave Gourmet Jerky. Because it has a soft, tender texture, great range of flavours, and is a great source of protein without all the bad stuff you don’t need, Krave is the perfect addition to a sophisticated nosh session. My friends hadn’t tried it before, and they were impressed.
I love this kind of eating. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, chatting about things, a sip of wine here and there, and enjoying the day into the evening. It’s the perfect opportunity to get creative with minimal mess and fuss in the kitchen. Here are a few ideas:
● Incorporate a few types of cheese with different textures and flavours - a soft, ripened cheese, a sharp and nutty Gouda, an aged goat cheese, blue, etc.
● Add something sweet like honey or a jam, or fresh fruit.
● Include something pickled like olives, gherkins, or red onions.
● Something crunchy like toasted almonds add great variety.
● A selection of breads and crackers keeps things interesting. I used my kale crackers plus a variety made with red fife wheat, and sliced baguette.
● Include different flavour options of Krave Gourmet Jerky
● Beverage pairings are key. Krave Black Cherry Barbecue goes well with a nice off-dry rosé, while Sweet Chipotle Beef is excellent with a brown ale.
There are so many possibilities. The next time a lazy afternoon on a rooftop patio is calling you, or a snuggly picnic date in the park, or holiday entertaining, or a night of Netflix – you know what to do.