Summer Moroccan Dinner Party with Cambria

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When it’s been raining cats and dogs for the last 20 days and all of your efforts to entertain outdoors have been foiled, you start to really get a big build up of festive thoughts with nothing to do about it.  Does this happen to you? I literally thought I was going to explode if I didn’t host something good.  Something fun and different. I usually host a big party about once a season, but this was different.  I HAD to have a party, it was oozing out of my pours as I sat day after day, happy hour after happy hour indoors, watching the rain pour down.

It’s almost as if I was trying to challenge Mother Nature when I felt the need to schedule an outdoor Moroccan dinner party.  And sure enough, she took my challenge.  The original date of the party got rained out, so I turned right around and rescheduled it for two days later.  Did I mention that if I didn’t host something I was going to explode? 

 

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As it turns out, Mother Nature gave me some mercy and I was able to throw a relaxed, warm, sunny Moroccan dinner without a hitch.  When it comes to planning a Moroccan menu, it can be a little rough.  Recipes are difficult and long and if you’re making more than one from-scratch dish, you’ll be in the kitchen more than you’ll be relaxing with your friends.  So I got the idea to make a stew.  I know a stew on a warm summer night sounds…hot… but the best part about stews are that they can not only be made ahead, but they’re usually better made ahead.  I made mine early in the AM, refrigerated it, then warmed it up before friends started to trickle over.

Then, I concentrated on the next most pressing thing – the drinks.  I considered making a mint tea or something really Moroccan, but I am not really a tea person… I am much more of a wine person. And with lamb, you need a gutsy wine; a  full bodied red would be perfect.  The Cambria Tepusquet Syrah is known for pairing well with Lamb, so it was a perfect choice. I went totally easy on the apps and served a two-ingredient cheese dip, spiced olives (straight from the olive bar at the grocery) and roasted chickpeas tossed in spices.  With a few different apps, a big red wine, the lamb stew served over couscous would be more than enough.

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For the decor, I used a lot of what I had at home.  I always use my everyday white dinnerware and my standard wineglasses.  You’ll recognize the table runner from every party I’ve had this spring, the table cloth and chargers are the same as last year’s luau, and the rugs are just stolen from inside. Lanterns were the only thing I bought, and I am REALLY excited to give them a home on my patio for the rest of the summer.  Really just the small small details make such a difference.  The low table was formed with a piece of plywood sitting atop some overturned 5-gallon buckets, so nothing was super special or expensive, it was just the people, food, and wine that came together to make it such a fun experience.

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I splurged a little on dessert and made a traditional Moroccan ‘snake’ cake called M’hanncha.  It was just ground almonds, dates, sugar, butter, spices, and some OJ wrapped in Phyllo, so the presentation was certainly a lot more impressive than the work it actually took me to make it.  Served alongside cinnamon ice-cream, it was a light, not-too-sweet complement to the heavier things I served earlier in the evening.

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I am so happy the second time was a charm for us and this party.  It turned out to be a perfect night with the perfect company.  I will be sharing all of the amazing recipes (you’ve got to try the stew) over on Cambria’s blog, so hop to it and host your own summer Moroccan party!

 

Photos by Allie Lehman

Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Cambria Wines.  Style direction, opinions, and content are 100% my own.  Thank you for continuing to support the brands that allow me to bring you fresh, fun content! 

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