Planning a party around an Epi   Leave a comment

What should the host or hostess wear when receiving guests to see the blooming of a beloved night blooming cereus? White, of course, something simple so as not to compete with the bride, as they say of mothers-in-law.  Alternately, you might wear black so as to slip into the nighttime landscape. Pastels are suitable; plaids should be avoided (sorry Kat). Never wear perfume or cologne when throwing an epi party. You want guests to sense the full effect of her rich and heady odor. Bug spray is optional; citronella a judgment call.

All eyes should be on the flower, so try to place her in the center of your gathering, perhaps on a small but sturdy accent table. Take care to protect her from party-goers who might peer too close after having too much bubbly. Gently request that guests not fondle the flower too aggressively.  They will likely be tempted to touch her silky petals. Again it’s a judgment call. Guests will be astounded by the sheer delicacy of these petals.  Some, if they are particularly thick-skinned,  may not feel anything at all.  Such is the ethereal nature of this exotic creature.
What to serve? Since open bloom time is later evening, decide whether to prepare a proper supper, or provide snacks, cheese and crackers, and dessert. Consider how many guests to invite, and how long you think they can tolerate watching a plant bloom. The snacks and dessert option allows guests to come and go with ease. Otherwise, the leisurely supper works best when you’ve taken care to invite those who  show some interest in events botanical.

In any case, lighter fare would be in keeping with the spirit of the night. Blanca is a feast for the eyes and nose, so keep the food a pleasant but not over-powering second. Champagne is a natural choice. Proseco is nice, too. Adventurous chefs might go in for regional specialties that recall Epi’s native home: serve Sri Lankan dishes or Mexican, or Central American. Fruit is always a good choice, grapes, berries, pineapple, melon.

Don’t forget to provide music for the grand opening. Maybe you have a sound track from a tropical rain forest? Perfect!  Otherwise consider something quiet and melodic.  Susan Graham’s La Belle Epoque: The Songs of Reynaldo Hahn is a favorite of mine when Blanca is blooming.

And it’s always fun to include a bit of flower lore to further intrigue your guests. More on that in another post.

We’ve had many gatherings over the past two years, and we’re always refining what we do. I’d love to hear your party suggestions, successes and missteps, too.


Posted September 9, 2010 by Canio's in Uncategorized

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