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Small Bites for a Small Group, Spring Edition

Hosting a cocktail or happy hour this spring? I got you covered.

Call it what you will: Apéro, Apéritif, Aperitivo, Happy Hour, Cocktail Hour, etc… I call it easy entertaining. No need to plan for a full meal, and the expectation is that your guests will clear out in 1-2 hours. 

We recently hosted a spring gathering for a small group—about 10 friends total. It was on a weeknight and started at 4:30 pm—early!—because we needed to allow guests travel time to an event immediately following. I left work a bit early that day, but as you can imagine, I needed a plan that I could mostly prepare in advance. 

Spring Happy Hour Menu

I know charcuterie and cheese boards are all the rage, but if someone comes to my house, I want to offer more than cheese and crackers. I felt that homemade breads and spreads were in order! For this gathering, we offered freshly-baked bread and pizza, homemade gluten-free crackers, two vegan spreads, two cheeses, nuts, raw veggies, and dates. The gathering was on Nowruz, Persian New Year, which is traditionally a time to eat greens, so I also made Börek, a flaky pie with spinach and feta. And while happy hour menus do not require a dessert option, I knew it would be better with chocolate, so I made a chocolate cake as well. 

I set the table and prepared all that I could (including slicing/plating the cake) the night prior. I saved the baking (bread, pizza, and börek) for the day of. 

Recipe Round-up 

Here are links to all the recipes.

  • Easy Tapenade (basically just olives, capers, and parsley…this comes together very quickly in a food processor) from @cookieandkate (vegan!)
  • Borek (Turkish spinach and feta pie, with a lovely flaky crust) from @foolproofliving – It was my first time ever using Phyllo dough! PSA: It comes frozen! Plan ahead!
  • Chocolate Cake from Orangette blog

Truth be told, we had lots of leftovers. There’s not much a talking crowd can eat in one hour. If you are looking for menu ideas for a larger crowd, but want to stick to finger foods, check out this post on a Spring Small Bites Menu.

For drinks, I set out bubbly water, wine, bubbly, Aperol and the fixins to make an Aperol Spritz, and invited everyone to serve themselves. I’ll say it again: easy entertaining!