What started out as a graduate school revolt against the dreariness of the Illinois winter has now become an annual McDavitt tradition – a night of hot chocolate and good company. Never mind that I used the same decorations as last time, or that I only had about ten seconds to snap a few photos before I was even done setting ingredients out, or that I totally mis-calculated the amount of cream I needed for the Ghiradelli fondue and had to send a friend scuttling to the store (bless her). There’s something satisfying about throwing a party in mid-January – the rush of the holidays has died down, and everyone’s a little forlorn that there are no celebrations anytime soon, plus it’s still grey and chilly outside. It makes it a snap to get everyone together, especially when steaming cups of chocolatey goodness are involved.
I love the ebb and flow of a party – the excitement of the first arrivals, the bustling mid-evening crowd, the few who linger to chat late into the night. I also love playing hostess, gathering friends together, restocking the marshmallows and hearing clips of chatter around me on every subject imaginable. Conversation ranged from music to teaching middle school to James Buchanan to the Ravens game that the rest of Baltimore was glued to that night. Truth be told, I could enjoy a party even if I didn’t talk to anyone, just watching friends drift in and out, laughing and having a good time, is a pleasure all on its own.
We did have one newcomer on the food scene this year – alongside the fondue and from-scratch hot chocolate, I tried out a white-chocolate based “snow cocoa” that my sister recommended. I used vanilla bean paste instead of regular vanilla. It was a total hit! Unfortunately it doesn’t keep well left over, so be sure to guzzle it up while it’s hot….(but I’m sure you won’t mind making that sacrifice…).