Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Champagne browsing by tag


A Sparkling Trip to Italy Via Canoe

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

Last week was a whirlwind of parties. I am back in the swing of things and diving in head first.

The lovely folks from Ferrari Trento invited me to join them for an exclusive lunch at Canoe, one of Atlanta’s most romantic restaurants. I tend to forget how close Canoe is, and yet it seems a world away from the city. There were less than 20 of us there for a glamorous preview of the Lunelli family’s stunning sparkling wines, paired with scrumptious cuisine prepared by Chef Matthew. The event was a lavish indulgence in the middle of the day.

Gracing the banks of the Chattahoochee River

Our group was seated in the private dining room and we all introduced ourselves. So many new friends!


I didn’t want to miss a moment hearing about these exceptional wines, so I chose a seat directly from our guest of honor, Marcello Lunelli, the distinguished winemaker.

Marcello Lunelli

Marcello Lunelli

Did you know that the rest of the world is drinking sparkling wine from regular wine glasses? We are the only ones drinking from flutes. Marcello wants to spread the word that sparkling wine is for everyday, not only special occasions. I concur. He made a great point by saying if he is out with his wife and another couple and they all prefer a different variety of wine, they can all agree on bubbles. I have seen this over and over again at our parties. No one declines a glass of bubbly!

Canoe’s dishes were a perfect accompaniment to the six (!!) glasses we sampled. Here’s a look at the menu and the wines we enjoyed.

Oysters on the Half Shell

Ferrari Rose’ NV Trento DOC Metodo Classico


House Smoked Salmon on a Crispy Potato Cake, Vermont Goat Cheese

Ferrari “Riserva Lunelli” 2006 Trento DOC Metodo Classico


American Prosciutto Salad, Compressed Melon, Parmesan

Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore “Giulio” 2002, Trento DOC

Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore “Giulio” 2001, Trento DOC


The “Guilio” 2001 was a standout for me. It has a remarkable nose with hugely expressive aromas of dried orchard fruits, cake batter and acacia honey. Cake! It was my favorite. And I think it might be your favorite, too, when you try it.

Next course!

Crisped Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Thai Salad, Yuzu

Ferrari Riversa del Fondatore “Giulio” RD 1999, Trento DOC

Ferrari Riversa del Fondatore “Giulio” 1993, Trento DOC


This was my favorite dish paired with my other favorite wine. The 1993 vintage is one of the more costly wines, but wow, for a special occasion, what a perfect splurge. I found it online retailing from $168 up to $358 per bottle. It was so exciting to be able to sample this exquisite treat. If you are a lover of fine wines, I know you would be thrilled to add this to your collection. Or, send to me as a gift! 🙂 Trust me, you will be in grand company. Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher, Andy Warhol, Alec Baldwin, Brooke Shields and the Scissor Sisters have all enjoyed Ferrari scrumptious wines. Their wines were even served at a G8 dinner.

If you are traveling to Italy, you must make Trentino a stop and visit the charming Lunelli family. The vineyard even has a Michelin Star Restaurant, Locanda Margon, nestled amid the vines. I can’t wait to go. Shall we plan a trip together?

The company I enjoyed at this luncheon was marvelous. Joon Lim, who is a server and sommelier at Kevin Rathbun Steaks and I had a wonderful discussion about how most restaurant patrons are reluctant to ask for help when ordering wine. He is so fabulous that I have asked him to talk to me in depth about today’s sommeliers and why you should always ask for help. Look for the interview next week or so.


Many thanks to Ferrari Trento, Canoe and Palm Bay International. This was a special afternoon with special food, people and of course, the Ferrari Trento sparkling wines that will be gracing my dinner parties in the future.

xoxo, Patti

My Lake Crush

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

It is no secret that I am totally enamored of The Ritz-Carlton. And I promise, it is not the extravagant crystal chandeliers, the winding staircases or even the best spas in the world. It is the people of the Ritz that bowl me over every time.

Eric and I stayed one night recently at The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Plantation. This property is special to us because it was our first Ritz-Carlton. Just one year ago we were welcomed with open arms as I entered to write a story about this fabulous luxe lodge on sparkling Lake Oconee.

What’s new since last year?

Care to join me for dinner?

Like A Kid In A Swoozie Store!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Last night I helped Swoozie’s celebrate their 10th birthday and it was so much fun. Their Chastain Square store is huge and filled with anything you could ever need for a party.
Champagne, Confetti and Cookies!

We’re celebrating in here! Close the door behind you…

Bubbly Treats for Your Valentine

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

With Valentine’s Day right around the bend, I bet you are trying to decide how to impress your sweetheart, yes? I have a couple of ideas that will thrill couples or singles (after all, why not celebrate the friends that are always there for you?)

My fab friend Maura over at 365 Atlanta (however does she find such cool things for us has the perfect idea for tonight – a Champagne Tasting…for $15 dollars!!!! Sign me up. Pack up all your favorites in the car and pop on up to Dunwoody to Alon’s for this evening of bubbly fun!


Ok, you have your bubbly all picked out – but why just pour a plain glass of champagne when you can glam it up? My sweet friend Jamie in NYC is shaking things up with Corzo Tequila and champagne – my buddies in the big city sure know how to do it right!! Here’s a special cocktail that is sure to make your valentine giddy! Oh, and don’t forget to save a bit of your Corzo Tequila for the exciting recipe after this one!

A blush drink for your blushing Valentine.

Corzo Amor
1 part of Corzo Silver Rose petals and Hibiscus infusion
3/4 part Elderflower liqueur (St. Germain)
Top with Champagne
Serve in a champagne glass and finish with a lemon twist.

Where to find Hibiscus flowers: Any Latin American market or health store.
Where to find Rose petals: Any Latin American market (Rosa de Castilla dry).

Aw, criminy, does the boss have you working late tonight and you can’t make the champagne tasting? Well, that’s okay, Sugar, I have an ultra cool idea you can do at home. I adore this idea and I am just unhappy I didn’t think of it first. It is so brilliant.

Gorgeous Naomi over at Bakers Royale is whipping up these insanely fab treats for her friend’s parties. Take a look.

They’re jello shooters, y’all!!! OMG, aren’t they the coolest things ever? Naomi has also fashioned shooters to look like lemon wedges and rock candy. She is today’s big blog crush.

Whoever you make these for is bound to feel very, very special indeed. Go ahead, impress your lovey!

What have you planned for Valentine’s Day?

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Frank Sinatra – My Funny Valentine

Watermelon Kegs With Curtis

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

My friend Curtis is a hoot – he is always coming up with new ideas for food. Last week he thought it would be cool to make a watermelon keg and fill it with champagne. I invited him over to build it at our house so I could document the entire process.

First, you need a watermelon. Check.

Okay, We've Got the Melon

This Is So Cool, Come On In

Birthday In NOLA – Final Installment

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Our last day in New Orleans was off to a slow start. We had a quiet breakfast on a patio in the French Quarter and just moseyed around town on foot. The sky was grey and the day was misty. I didn’t even take any photos.

More Last Day Fun After The Fold

Our Christmas Feast for Six

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Good Afternoon(!!), Darlings!

I trust you all had a bang up Christmas.  We certainly did.  There were six of us gathered around the table this year and it was the one of the nicest Christmases I can remember. Oh, we had fun. But you knew that already, didn’t you? 🙂

First, let me list the menu:

Prime Rib, Dry Aged By Eric
Yorkshire Pudding
Mashed Potatoes
John’s Awesome Veggie Bake w/Brussel Sprouts, Portabellos, Broccoli, Wild Rice, Cheese (Everyone had at least 2 helpings of this!)
Beef Gravy
Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding w/Homemade Whipped Cream
Everything Cookies
Buckets and Buckets of Champagne

More Christmas Celebrations After The Fold