Hosting a brunch party is your chance to transport guests to the countryside of Italy, where food is plentiful, Prosecco flows freely, and the atmosphere is casual and always elegant. Whether you invite a few people over for an intimate sit-down meal, or a larger group for a buffet, we’ve put together everything you need to spend an ideal Sunday eating, drinking and socializing with friends — without spending too much time in the kitchen.
Play the Sounds of Italy
Classical music by some of Italy’s greatest maestros will immediately make your guests feel as if they’ve entered a home in the middle of Tuscany. Play anything by Verdi or Puccini, or put on this playlist that has pieces from Vivaldi, Cherubini and others. Choose a volume that lets your guests hear the music but still easily speak to each other.
Simplify the Decor
The smells wafting from your kitchen and the sounds of classical music will go a long way towards setting the mood for your Italian-inspired brunch, so you can keep the décor modest but tasteful. Bring out those Italian linens you may have picked up on a trip there, or use a cotton red-and-white checked tablecloth and folded dishtowels as napkins. Use plain white dishware, simple flatware and stemless glasses to serve the Prosecco. Place long breadsticks in a cleaned-out tomato sauce can, and fill a few mason jars with sunflowers to place around the table. Can’t find sunflowers? A bunch of herbs are an excellent substitute.
Do a Make-Ahead Menu
The only mandate for throwing an Italian-inspired brunch is having plenty of time to enjoy it! Italians are known for indulging in long, leisurely meals, so we’ve put together a menu that will encourage your guests to do the same. Prosecco is the star of this menu since it pairs beautifully with both savory and sweet dishes, and we’ve chosen recipes that can be made in advance, or doubled if you’re feeding a larger crowd.
Open with a Stunner
After your guests arrive, pass around these Raspberry Phyllo Cups with Brie. The sweetness of the raspberry coupled with the richness of the brie compliment Prosecco beautifully. Using only four ingredients, this recipe is incredibly easy to make but has a wow-factor that’s sure to impress. Don’t be surprised if you see your guests popping one in their mouth, and reaching for another before they’ve finished chewing! (Hint: Feel free to make and freeze these up to two weeks ahead of time. Just toss them in the oven for a few minutes before serving.)
Go Beyond Bagels and Smoked Salmon
Forgo the brunch staple of bagels and smoked salmon. Instead, make this simple but updated take on salmon crudo that uses crisp Granny Smith apples and even has a surprise ingredient: pretzels! Before your guests arrive, make the puree and pretzel mixture. When you’re ready to serve, just slice the salmon and assemble the dish. The tartness of the apple and the saltiness from the pretzel pair perfectly with Zonin Prosecco.
Make a Frittata
It isn’t an Italian-inspired brunch without a frittata, which is known as the Italian version of an omelet. Feel free to make more than one, and use any ingredients you like, but we suggest this hearty version with potatoes, red peppers, and porcini mushrooms. This recipe calls for turkey chorizo but you can substitute your favorite style of Italian sausage. Another added bonus? You can make the frittata before your guests even arrive since it’s delicious at room temperature. Pair with Zonin Prosecco.
Sorry, Low Carb Dieters. This is a Time for Bread
It’s impossible to think of Italy and not envision fresh piping-hot loaves of bread right out of the oven. Put out a peasant loaf of bread on a cutting board for guests to serve themselves, alongside a bowl of room temperature butter and a wooden butter knife. Or, toast slices of bread for crostini, add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parsley on each, and place in a pretty straw basket.