Host A French Party

Amy Lemley Bailey
Wednesday, Nov 16,2011
click to view gallery loves French style (and we're not just talking about smooching). The food, the wine, the clothes, the style - oui oui everything! If you are looking to add a twist to your festive entertaining with family or friends why not host a French themed holiday affair and celebrate Joyeux Noel. The decor is colorful. The menu is mussels, croque monsieurs, frites, goat cheese, macaroons, and a Buche de Noel. The drinks: French martinis and champagne. The dress: berets, scarves, red lipstick, and mustaches.

For the tablescape we used:

- a chandelier

- strategically placed roses

- a red, pink, and white petal bra

- Louboutins

- white candles in clear glass holders

- gold trays for food

- pedestal cakestands

- vertical glass containers for the frites (french fry) display

- large Eartborn pottery bowl for mussels


For the menu:

Steamed Mussels


  • 2 lb live mussels
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 chopped scallions or 1 chopped shallot
  • 2 chopped green garlic shoots or 2 cloves chopped garlic


Scrub and debeard the mussels. The "beard" is the fibrous hairy thing hanging from one side of the tasty bivalve. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion. A mussel is alive if it reacts. Its shell should be closed. If it is open, sit the mussel on the kitchen counter for a bit. It may close when you are not looking. Discard any that remain open before cooking.

Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large, wide-bottomed pot with a lid. Saute the shallot or green onion until it is soft but not browned. Add the garlic cloves. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Add the mussels in one layer if possible.

Cover the pot and let the mussels steam for 3-8 minutes. After three minutes, check the mussels; many should be open. You want them all open, but some will do this faster than others. As soon as most of the mussels are open, turn off the heat. Discard any that did not open.

Croque Monsieurs


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Frites (aka french fries)

Prepare thin french fries serve with mayonnaise and ketchup

Goat Cheese

May we suggest picking up Stonehollow Goat Cheese at Whole Foods it is locally made. You can top the goat cheese with any type preserve.

Macaroons and Buche de Noel (The Buche de Noel is a sponge cake decorated like a yule log.)

Order these at your local French bakery. We recommend Continental Bakery.


For the drinks we served:

Moet Chandon Champagne

French Martini

  • 2 ounces vodka 
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/4 ounce Chambord 
  • ice


Mix all ingreidents in shaker. Strain and pour into a Martini glass.


For the playlist we downloaded:

Brigitte, Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Barbara Calotti


For the invitation we used:

Images of Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, champagne, cafes, etc

Now enjoy yourself as if you were in Paris or New Orleans! Sante! (Cheers in French)