Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family, whether at a Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel or resort, or around the dining table of your own home. From table décor and creative menu items, to what to do with your leftovers, the Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton around the Americas have compiled a list of Ten Tips and Trends for creating a Ritz-Carlton Thanksgiving, no matter where you are.
1. Enhance Your Table Décor-
Visit local farm stands and markets for new table decorations and arrangement inspiration. You will find countless amounts of pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, apples, and hay bales that can add a special touch to your Thanksgiving décor.
2. Hollow out a Pumpkin-
After scooping the filling out of the pumpkin for a delicious pie, the Special Events team at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park suggest filling the outer shell with ice to use as a wine or champagne chiller, or with flowers to create a vibrant autumn centerpiece.
3. Try Tapas-
Leave the knives and forks behind and try a variety of small, tapas style appetizers. Chef Jose at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City suggests mini caprese salads, composed of fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomato drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction. It’s the perfect small bite for mingling guests.
4. Perfect The Traditional Turkey –
Simplify your Thanksgiving routine by letting the turkey thaw to room temperature before placing it into the oven. Executive Chef Frank Kassner at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common also suggests cooking the turkey at a low temperature until the leg is about 155F, then turning the oven to 375F for the last ten to fifteen minutes to crisp the skin.
5. Create A Signature Cocktail-
Serve a personalized cocktail for mingling with family and friends before dinner. “The Turkey Trot,” a famous cocktail at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is the perfect example. With a hint of honey, orange, and spice, this festive sour complements all of the wonderful Thanksgiving dishes and flavors.
6. Put a Twist on a Classic Dish-
The turkey is always the center of attention at a dinner table, but never complete without the stuffing. This year try stepping away from the traditional dish, a suggestion made by Chef Mathew Hiebsch at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia who created a chorizo and clam stuffing to complement his sage, rosemary, and thyme turkey rub.
7. Warm The Dessert-
When the Turkey comes out of the oven, turn it off and place your pies in. Take the time to enjoy your meal so that when dessert is served, they will be perfectly warmed! For another classic Thanksgiving dessert, try the Sweet Potato Cranberry Tart with Maple Pecan Crumble Topping from The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester.
8. Sample Different Pairings-
The lead Sommelier, Petra Polakovicova, at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay suggests a light Beaujolais red wine with dinner. The bold flavors of the red berries, cranberries, light violets, and dried herbs accent the peppery taste of a traditional turkey. She also recommends an off-dry Chenin Blanc from France, a wine with just a little sweetness to complement the classic Thanksgiving sides, but still has the right acidity to cut through the salty Turkey skin. If you are looking for something a little sweeter, an older Chenin Blanc develops very complex flavors of bruised apples, nuts, and honeysuckle, pairing nicely with all elements of the dinner.
9. Make Something New-
The holidays are the perfect time to sample a new dessert recipe, like this one from The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. This Sweet Potato Cheesecake incorporates subtle hints of nutmeg and ginger to accent a sweet marshmallow topping and creates a wonderful finish to any Thanksgiving dinner.
10. Take Post-Thanksgiving Relaxation Time-
After all of the Thanksgiving frenzy (and indulgences), enjoy your leftovers beyond the last slice of pie and use ingredients for an at-home facial. Try this rejuvenating pumpkin facial recipe from The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay Spa. The pumpkin is a powerhouse ingredient that helps to recover fatigued skin and stimulate renewal just in time for the holiday festivities!