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A Night in Provence

If you can't spend a year in Provence, how about a night? This cocktail party theme will transport you and your guests to the South of France for a relaxing summer evening, complete with cocktails, appetizers, mood-inspiring music and outdoor decor.

Make it a jardin party
This party theme works best outdoors. Invite your guests to join you in the garden, on the patio or on the deck.

The colors of Provence are beautiful for outdoor spaces. Ochre and sienna from the earth. Azur from the sky. Dusty greens from a scented herb garden. Decorate your outdoor space with purple lavender and blue flowering rosemary in a variety of earth-toned containers. Add cut sunflowers in a rustic vase for a burst of color. These perennial plants will add an authentic feel to your party, and you can continue enjoying them all summer long.

Bring out a large table for cocktails and appetizers. Any table will do — you can cover it with a colorful tablecloth in the traditional yellow and blue colors of Provence. For inspiration, check out the selection of authentic French tablecloths from A Touch of Provence.

Place tealights in colored glasses on the table and the ground. Use unscented tealight candles to allow your guests to fully enjoy the aromas of the wine and food you serve.

Fabulous French flavors
Refresh your guests with a Chandon Thyme Rosé. This cocktail combines three distinctive flavors from Provence: tart raspberries, pungent thyme and our vibrant sparkling brut rosé.

Traditional French cocktail foods are simple and served in small quantities. Fill petite decorative dishes with roasted pistachios and herbed black olives. Serve a light gourmet spread such as Laura Chenel's goat cheese with crackers.

If you want to offer your guests a heartier appetizer, Mini Lamb Kebabs are both satisfying and easy to eat. With a drink in one hand and a skewer in another, your guests can enjoy these small bites with a minimum of fuss.

Lamb Kebab Appetizers
Ingredients for marinade

½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp dried herbes de provence
4 garlic cloves

Instructions for marinade
Peel the garlic cloves and crush them on a wooden cutting board with the flat side of a chef's knife. Combine crushed garlic with other ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly.

Ingredients for kebabs
3 lbs cubed lamb
1 lb firm cherry tomatoes or miniature heirloom tomatoes
2 green peppers
½ lb small white onions, peeled
24 small bamboo skewers

Instructions for kebabs
Cut lamb into ½-inch cubes. Place in a bowl and cover with marinate. Refrigerate overnight.

Cut green peppers into 1-inch squares. Place bamboo skewers in a pan of water and let soak for 30 minutes before using. Remove lamb from marinade and drain on paper towel. Slide kebab ingredients onto skewers as desired. Broil for about 10 minutes, basting half-way through with marinade, until done. Serve immediately.

Serves 12.

A Night in Provence music mix
You don't need a French dictionary to appreciate this party mix, just a love of catchy melodies and danceable rhythms. Don't miss Le Toi du Moi by the French First Lady herself, Carla Bruni. You can download these songs on our Club Chandon iMix at the Apple iTunes Store.

Tu est le seul
Trois petits points
Défaire l'amour
Michto la pompe
JKiss moi
Le toi du moi
Ca mousse
Le sac des filles
J'aime plus Paris
Bella ciao
Paris Combo
Gilbert Bécaud
Enzo Enzo
Carla Bruni
Thomas Dutronc
Thomas Fersen