We've partnered with FIJI Water to share our go-to tips for elevating any hosted occasion, from an awards show viewing party to a fall feast.
I have been obsessed with the movies for as long as I can remember. And yes, I still actually make it to theater to catch the latest releases. My favorite so far this year: the new Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
So it should come as no shock that, for me, awards show season is kind of a big deal. Which is why I throw a viewing party for all the big ones—the Emmys, SAG Awards, Golden Globes, and of course, the Oscars—complete with a food and drinks lineup as impressive as the nominees.
For a viewing party spread, I like to stick with finger foods. Their cute, bite-size nature somehow feels worthy of an occasion while still being easy to prep ahead of time (so you can actually enjoy watching the pre-show red carpet) and munch on throughout the evening.
Picking out which finger foods you want to serve is a lot like imagining what type of gown (or suit, or swan) you'd wear: Do you go classic? Like say, Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture at the 2013 Academy Awards. Or maybe a little over-the-top, á la Cher's 1986 feathery look.
Both are equally impressive (and tasty!), it all just depends on which direction you want to take. Here are a few recipe ideas for each type of spread, plus tips for pulling the whole table together, from drinks to decorations.
When I think of traditional movie theater bites, the first things that comes to mind are popcorn (duh), warm-and-fluffy pretzels, and an endless selection of candy.
This classic spread brings all those nostalgic flavors together, and when laid out on beautiful tablescape, looks picture-perfect. To balance out the nibbles, add a bottle or two of FIJI Water to let guests pour a sip whenever they need. Serving everything on porcelain "paper" plates and parchment-lined sheet trays invites everyone to dig in, while still feeling like there's thought behind it.
These soft, salty pretzels are a movie theater classic and make for a great dip-able snack, particularly with a sharp Dijon mustard. Make them the morning of the awards show and lay them out on a platter for all to enjoy.
2. "Pizza" Focaccia with Tomato Sauce & Green Onion
Your guests are guaranteed to be impressed with this tomatoey "pizza" (it doesn't have cheese, but trust me, you won't miss it), complete with a homemade dough that takes hardly any time to make.
3. Devils on Hatchback
Kind of like the bacon-wrapped dates you know and love, these Devils on Hatchback are packed with a lot more spice and flavor (but very little fuss), thanks to green chile peppers. Make a batch, pop a toothpick in each one, and watch them disappear throughout the night.
4. Kettle Corn
It wouldn't be a trip to the movies (well, sort of) without a big batch of popcorn, and this sweet-savory-lick-your-fingers kettle corn is as classic (and simple) as it gets.
5. Twix Bars
My favorite thing about these homemade Twix Bars (besides the chocolate, gooey caramel, and crumbly shortbread)? You can make them up to three days ahead of time and store them in the fridge.
For a spread that feels a little bit more special, I like to start by zhuzhing up the snacks. These bites are no more complicated than the classics, but they call on a few twists and tricks that take them to a whole other level.
For drinks, I'll put out those same bottles of FIJI Water but also add a bottle or two of JUSTIN Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé—both would work nicely with the foods on this spread. As for the decorations, now's your chance to whip out the linen tablecloths and gold candlesticks to make the whole thing feel like a special affair.
1. Ricotta Crostini with Figs, Prosciutto & Honey
These totally make-ahead ricotta crostini would fit in at any sophisticated awards show afterparty. Just make sure to wait to drizzle the honey over the top (and add that sprig of fresh thyme for garnish) until just before you're ready to serve.
2. Little Mushroom Pinwheels
These golden-brown pinwheels are two pretty bites of crispy-mushroomy perfection, and a dash of herb-infused olive oil over the finished product takes thing up another notch. Pro tip: Stash the unbaked pinwheels in the freezer and bake when you're ready.
3. Nori Sour Cream Dip
Chips and sour cream dip are a must for any marathon tv-watching session, but this isn't your average sour cream dip. Potato chips get swapped in for colorful crudités, and the dip gets an umami-packed upgrade with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and crumbled nori.
4. Angostura Bitters-Glazed Popcorn
If you've been looking for an extremely extra way to make popcorn, look no further than this ridiculously addictive version, glazed in a mixture of sugar, salt, cinnamon, and angostura bitters.
5. Chocolate-Covered Almond Halvah
Think of this easy-to-make treat as your favorite nutty chocolate bar's older, more refined cousin. I promise it'll outshine anything you can buy at the concession stand.
The best part of an awards show viewing party is the spread. In partnership with FIJI Water, premium natural artesian water bottled at the source in the Fiji Islands, we're sharing our go-to entertaining tips for all types of fall and winter occasions. From awards show viewing parties to holiday get-togethers with the whole family, no matter what or who you're hosting, a few bottles of FIJI Water elevates any gathering.