Hosting Tips

Entertaining With :: Susan Hutchinson

By Chanel Dror
Did you guys catch this to-die-for Bastille Day first birthday party back in August? I caught wind of it while browsing Pinterest one day, and it immediately soared to the top of my “favorite parties” list. The mama behind the masterpiece? None other than Susan Hutchinson, francophile and author of Fleurishing. So it was no surprise that when we asked Susan to take part in our Entertaining With series, she let us crash her oh-so-French réveillon dinner party. If you’re unfamiliar with the celebration, a réveillon is a long dinner that take place on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and it’s all about the great food, bubbling drinks and staying up late with fabulous company. Click through to see the gorgeous photos Courtney Apple took, as well as four must-try holiday recipes from Susan!

My standard hostess outfit:

I spend so many of my days in pajamas and yoga pants, that when I entertain I tend to go all out! I’m big on comfort though, so nothing too fussy. My closet is a sea of ivory, grey and black, and I mostly prefer dresses. For holidays such as this one, I love to wear my late grandmother’s lace apron — if only I could cook like she did!

My dream dinner guests:

My family from generations past. There are many questions I’d ask, and so many stories I’d love to hear.

*Stockings from Palomas Nest

My entertaining style in 5 words or less:

Classic, nostalgic, and chic.

*Florals by Sullivan Owen

Current favorite color palette for parties:

Currently and always: neutrals with gold accents! I enjoyed infusing this party with orange + copper.

*Wish balls from TOPS Malibu

What scares you about entertaining?

I’m a perfectionist, so I always worry that I’ve forgotten something. Details are very important to me, and I love it when guests take notice!

*Calligraphy by LindseyBee

The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:

The most memorable meal I’ve ever had was (coincidentally) in Alsace-Lorraine, with my husband during our travels in 2010. We casually wandered into a small, cozy place in Colmar for dinner, and had the most delicious, “homecooked” comfort food. It was my first experience with “baeckoffe”, an Alsatian meat and potato stew, and it remains fresh in my mind!

*Click here to download the recipe for Susan’s Asparagus, Orange and Crab Salad

*Click here to download the recipe for Susan’s Chicken in Riesling with Cabbage and Prunes

My signature entertaining dish:

In all honesty, my husband does the majority of cooking… my signature addition is usually a cheese plate and/or dessert. I love to bake!

The perfect dinner party playlist includes:

It depends on the party, but since so many of mine have a francophile twist, I’m usually shuffling French tunes! They range from classics like Piaf and Gainsbourg to modern day, such as Camille and Ben L’Oncle, and French bands who sing in English like Hey Hey My My and Phoenix.

The taste I’m always craving:

Sweets! A meal isn’t complete unless I’ve had dessert.

*Click here to download the recipe for Susan’s Kougolf Alsatien

Always in my refrigerator:

Champagne… you never know when the need to celebrate will arise!

*Click here to download Susan’s recipe for her French 75

My must-have entertaining tool:


The entertaining rule I rarely break:

No cleaning before guests leave.

*Star sparkler candles from TOPS Malibu