Host an organic dinner party with these simple tips

Aug 11, 2009 at 10:37 a.m. ET

From the invites and scrumptious feast to the memorable parting gifts, hosting an ecofriendly, organic dinner party can be an easy and delicious endeavor. Showcasing the freshest, most healthful foods, an organic food gathering is a sumptuous way to celebrate any season or occasion. Here are a few simple tips to show you how.

Green Placesetting

1. Eco-invite your guests

If you are going to be good to your guests by feeding them a mouthwatering multi-course meal of organic foods, be good to the environment by sending your dinner party invitations online or by phone. This cuts down on paper waste and saves you time.

2. Get an accurate count

Before you plan your organic menu, follow up with your invitees to finalize who will be attending your scrumptious affair. This will keep you from buying and preparing too much food. You'll save money as well as minimize leftovers and throwaways.

Woman at Farmer's Market3. Plan your dinner party around the season

Just because food is organic does not mean it's in season. Some organic foods are imported from other countries. To create the most ecofriendly menu, consider foods that are not only in season, but also locally sourced. Visit your local farmer's market, co-op, natural foods store or community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to see which organic fruits, veggies, herbs and other foods are available.

4. Stick with familiar dinner party dishes

Though eating an organic diet gives you the delicious opportunity to try new dishes, stick with your favorite, familiar, most impressive recipes for a dinner party, whether it's organic or not. With the ample selection of organic foods and food products, anything from your staple family tomato sauce recipe to Aunt Agatha's beef casserole can be made organic. 

5. Create a mouthwatering organic menu

As for any festive food occasion, choose dinner party dishes that awe your guests with fabulous flavor and eye appeal. Create an organic menu -- from appetizer to dessert -- that showcases a delectable variety of textures, tastes, colors and aromas. A veggie-full bruschetta featuring finely chopped organic yellow tomatoes, roasted red peppers and fresh basil is a beautiful start to your party. An organic blackberry goat cheese arugula salad with a berry vinaigrette lends gorgeous color and tantalizing textures and taste as an accompaniment for the main course. Simply think about what would be most impressive to you if you were attending a dinner party, and plan accordingly.

Coffee Beans6. Use all-organic ingredients

Once you have your organic menu in place, make a shopping list. Buy organic produce, herbs, breads, eggs, dairy and meat the day before or day of your party for the freshest flavors. Purchase nonperishable organic items a few days ahead. Don't forget the drinks: Seek out organic beer, wines and other liquors or liqueurs for a tasty selection of organic cocktails.

7. Set your organic tablescape

Your organic dinner party doesn't have to be only about organic food; even your table settings and dinnerware can reflect the green theme. Use organic linens to set your table and decorate with organic candles and flowers. Serve your meal on sustainable bamboo plates or, at the very least, nondisposable dinnerware.

8. End with organic parting gifts

Once your dinner party guests have enjoyed their mouthwatering organic meal and after-dinner mingling, send them home with a memorable organic parting gift. Miniature pots of organic herbs or flowers, tiny sachets of organic seeds or even small ribbon-wrapped containers of organic honey or another locally produced organic goodie will give them the opportunity to bring organic living into their own homes.