We’ve all been there: You get an invite to a fun dinner party and when you ask your host what you can bring, they insist on absolutely nada. What’s the next move? Your host declined your gesture because they want to treat you to a lovely evening, so let them! They may also have some pretty specific plans for the menu. But if it feels too weird to arrive empty-handed, show your appreciation with one of these ideas instead. Your host will love it, and you’ll feel great about your contribution.
1. A Bottle of Wine: Wine is your easiest go-to. Your host can open it that evening if needed, or enjoy it later. Choose a bottle of something you love. A seasonal six-pack of beer is also a great option.
2. Box of Candy: A small box of chocolates or a package of artisan caramels doesn’t require extra dishes for serving and can easily be passed around alongside whatever dessert is on the menu. It will also keep well if they want to indulge in it later on their own.
3. Breakfast Bread for the Next Day: The morning after throwing a party can be rough. Pick up a loaf of banana or pumpkin bread (or make your own) that your host can dive into the next morning.
4. Coffee and/or Tea: A pound of freshly ground coffee from your local roaster smells great and will be a welcome pick-me-up for your friend the morning after. Bonus if you include it with some of that breakfast bread! If they’re not a coffee drinker, a small tin of a seasonal tea works too.
5. A Jar of Flaky Sea Salt: Does your pal love to cook? An upgraded version of a basic ingredient is both useful and special. A flaky sea salt can be used on anything from salad to avo toast to chocolate chip cookies.
6. A Really Great Loaf of Bread and Some Artisan Butter: Do you have a local bakery that you absolutely adore? Pick up a fresh loaf of bread that could be served at dinner, but is hefty enough to keep for a few days (ask for something like a country batard). If your friend doesn’t serve it that night, it’ll make an easy meal if they’re feeling tired the next day.
7. Coffee Table Book: A coffee table book is an instant conversation starter amongst guests, which will buy your host some extra prep time if they need it. Plus, it’s a fun souvenir of the evening.
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