Our friends at Bellocq share details of a holiday gathering we'd love to attend.
terrain: What traditions do you all at Bellocq most look forward to at the holidays?
Bellocq: Our holiday season starts with foraging in the woods of Massachusetts. We bring back arm-loads of pine branches, laurel and bits of nature for decorating the shop. The rest goes home for more wreaths and garlands. And then there is the cookie baking which can go on for days! It's a tradition passed down from our grandmothers that has become one of the most anticipated parts of the season for all of the children in our lives.
terrain: Which teas are you drinking this time of year?
Bellocq: We have a few favorites… Bellocq Christmas of course! Also the White Wolf and Little Dickens too. On weekends we make a big pot of Afghani Chai that simmers all day long… The house and shop smell divine.
terrain: And what about your holidays feasts… What's inspiring them?
Bellocq: The sea and the sky. We'll start with ice cold oysters with a grapefruit mignonette… And iced vodka infused with White Nixon. Then onto roasted goose, served with potatoes roasted on a bed of smoky, juniper-Lapsang infused sea salt.
terrain: What do you think about when preparing your home for a houseful of friends?
Bellocq: We love to create very intimate environments. Who needs electricity anyway? Candles work just fine and make everyone feel and look more beautiful! We like a touch of formal with good tableware, antique silver flatware and linens, but otherwise the environment is always relaxed. And you can never be too prepared for those guests that linger on to nibble on leftovers, sip a night cap and throw citrus peels into the fire. A collection of Moroccan slippers is always a plus, a few cuddly throws and, just in case, a deck of cards.
terrain: When it comes to entertaining at the holidays, what do you think makes for an inviting celebration?
Bellocq: A relaxed host who has time to enjoy their guests. An enchanting environment… Candles… Sparkling glasses… Good, diverse playlists… Evocative scents… An element of the unexpected, and fun guests of course. People love to feel welcomed and indulged. Quiet corners to sneak off to for intimate conversation or spontaneous holiday snogging. Fire if you have it.