The Shop

5 Hosting Essentials Perfect for Cold-Weather Shindigs

Food52 staffers share five of our favorite entertaining picks.

February 20, 2023
Photo by Bobbi Lin

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For anyone who lives somewhere with winter weather that equals below-freezing temps, it's no secret that plans move indoors once November hits. Backyard dinners, sidewalk-seated happy hours, and firing up the grill are swiftly replaced by the crackle of a fireplace, the metal clanging of a radiator, and the recurring backdrop of living rooms. By the time February rolls around, any frequent host has put their favorite cocktails, cold-weather recipes, and hosting essentials to good use.

To help spark some inspiration for the remainder of the winter-hosting season, we pulled together five Shop-approved items for entertaining our staff swears by.

Photo by Julia Gartland

1. Degrenne Salam Insulated Teapot, $173+

If your guests prefer post-dinner tea instead of coffee, you'll want this pot. Inspired by Bedouin teapots, this insulated (the felt-lined lids help trap heat for over an hour) six-cup pot is the perfect vessel for anyone looking to brew tea fit for a crowd. You don't have to choose between bagged or loose-leaf teas, either: There's a removable aluminum infuser that is nestled inside.

“I bought this for my dad in sage (he loved the color!),” Joy Peabody, chief growth officer, said. “It's the perfect size for making tea for six people all at once!”

Photo by Rocky Luten

2. Smithey Cast Iron Traditional Skillet

If you don't already own cast-iron cookware, it might be time to change that. It's no secret that cast iron pieces are versatile, durable, and (when cared for properly) last for generations. This skillet from Smithey Ironware Co. is available in small or large sizes that'll help bring your favorite skillet-friendly recipes to life—like this Curried Coconut Lentil Shakshuka or scalloped potatoes.

“My skillet always makes an appearance when I have guests over, whether it’s baking this pizza I’m still obsessed with, cornbread to go with chili, or a giant skillet cookie,” Maurine Hainsworth, senior copywriter, said.

Photo by Julia Gartland

3. Simple Ceramic Baking Dish

Unable to choose just one hosting essential, Hainsworth also suggests a Casafina baking dish. Available as a small square or a set of two rectangular dishes (one small, one medium), these Portuguese wares are fantastic for any dinner party or potluck.

“I’m so glad I snatched up these pretty baking dishes,” Hainsworth said. “They’re great for crowd-pleasing comfort foods (hi, lasagna) plus slice-and-serve desserts like brownies and raspberry crumble bars.”

Photo by Rocky Luten

4. Kinto Sepia Amber Glasses

These warm-hued glasses are what I reach for anytime my roommate and I have friends over. With the versatility of being able to comfortably hold both cold and hot beverages, they're the perfect cups for a group of varying drink orders. No more scrambling to find the right glasses when half of the group wants mulled wine and the other wants chilled.

Photo by Rocky Luten

5. Ekobo Recycled Bamboo Serving Tray

Any frequent host is bound to have a serving tray or two hiding in a kitchen cabinet. This recycled bamboo one is simple and comes in four different colors (lemon, lagoon, stone, and ivory).

“I love a good serving tray—for housing candles and flowers, toting around snacks, presenting cocktails, you get the idea—and this recycled bamboo option is one of my particular must-haves for hosting,” Erin Alexander, managing editor, said. “It's lightweight, comes in a few color options (yellow is my fave), and has a strong lip on the edge for keeping everything where it should be.”

What are your winter-hosting essentials? Let us know below!

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Julia is a Senior Editor here at Food52 and a freelance writer. She has written for Grub Street, Eater, PUNCH, Edible Brooklyn, and more. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.