• Ellerslie Event Centre

Top tips for a mid-winter dinner

Just because it’s sweater weather, doesn’t mean we should get S.A.D about it.

OK, so Seasonal Affective Disorder is a thing, but we don’t think a little chill is a good enough reason to stay within the confines of your home binging on Netflix for three months. Especially after the past year or so when that's been one of the only things we can do!


If there’s one great thing to do this time of year - now that we're able - is to throw a mid-winter dinner for family and / or friends.


Heck! You could even go all-out & make it a mid-winter Christmas theme if you felt like you needed a solid reason to celebrate.

Here’s some inspiration for planning a fabulous winter dinner party that you’ll want to head out for.


Match the food to the mood

Yes, it’s chilly, but what better excuse to ditch the rabbit food in favour of every foodie’s top comfort foods?


Think classic roast chicken or turkey and a huge platter of roasted vegetables, steaming bowls of chilli served with corn chips, plates heaped with rich pasta dishes such as creamy carbonara or Spaghetti Bolognese, or spicy Asian-influenced curries.


As you may have figured, now is not the time to be counting calories. End the evening on a sweet note with a gooey chocolate brownie or sticky date pudding. And don’t forget to bring out the fancy crockery for this special occasion.

Pair it with the perfect beverages

The trick to enjoying wine is to drink what you like all year round. However, it’s nice to give wine and food matching some thought.


Kick off the occasion with a celebratory bubbles, rosé is not just a summer drink – it’s lovely paired with seafood and spicy food, think bold, well rounded chardonnays with pasta and white meats, and you can’t beat rich reds like a stunning Central Otago Pinot Noir to go with your red meats.


A warming mulled wine will always be welcome at this time of year (we've even got a great recipe here), as is a classic whiskey sour, negroni or margarita. Round off the meal by serving mugs of decadent hot chocolate with a side of toasted marshmallows.

Set the scene with stylish décor

Winter event décor can be even more fun than summer; just let your creative juices flow.


Instead of a crisp, white cotton tablecloth, consider a swathe of felt, which looks as soft and warm as a knitted jersey. Swap the vases of fresh flowers for sprigs of greenery or a centrepiece constructed from candles, pinecones and moss.


Why not go all out with a mid-winter Christmas party? Dim the lights, add plenty of candles, bring out the baubles and tinsel for a striking table runner, ask your guests to bring a $10 Secret Santa gift and wear a touch of red to get them into the spirit.


Want the party but you’d like to leave the planning to the pros?


Chat to our events team to discuss how we can assist with the perfect venue and seamless planning to make your next dinner function an absolute hit – any time of the year.


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