In the summertime, when the weather is fine, a caravan-based dinner party seems like a great idea. You can utilise all of your kitchen and dining spaces in the cabin for cooking food and use the outside for preparing, serving and eating. Big tables, fairy lights, tents and a bonfire can turn the entire outdoors into your dining room. You can invite all your friends and party well into the evening.
But what about during winter?
What do you do when it’s too cold to entertain outdoors?
Some people think it’s impossible to host a dinner party when there isn’t much space. We’re here to prove them wrong.
The first thing you’ll be wanting to do is maximise space. Do this by decluttering your cabin. Cosy though it may be, make sure all your books and maps and board games are stored neatly away. Clutter can cause claustrophobia and cramp your companions. Four of you in a closed space will seem cosy enough without the day’s accoutrements closing you in.
Think about the guest list. You’ll want only a couple of friends over at a time. Rather than inviting all of your friends like you might in the summer, invite only a couple per winter party. Having a smaller dinner party means you can interact more with your guests. And, quite simply, not that many will fit in your RV.
The last thing you’ll want to do is to try to assemble and store anything too big or delicate like a croquembouche in your camper. You won’t have the space for intricate, large-scale meals and chances are your RV isn’t decked out to be turned into a food van with full kitchen anyway. Simple and compact dishes like soups work well in winter. Soups are warm, cosy and compact meals that can be served in a number of inventive and exciting ways befitting your camper’s aesthetic. Jars, cups, mugs, ramekins and homemade clay pots are some of our favourite soup vessels.
Have your soup prepared and on simmer before your guests arrive. Other dinner parties, such as those in your home, or your summer-based RV soirees, can benefit from having others cook with you, but a wintertime caravan cookout needs all the space and organisation you can muster.
A cool and calm caravan cook is needed for this kind of dinner party, so it’s best to have your food prepared earlier. The smell of cooking food also adds an ambience to the evening.
The simmer and pop of the soup on the hob can also provide nice ambient noise. A caravan quickly fills up and with four people talking, food being cooked and glasses tinkling, any additional noise, such as music, may be too much. The sound of the soup, coupled with its smell, will entice your guests and add a frisson of homely excitement to your evening.
Remember to leave a window open or a vent running if it’s not too noisy. Your camper has become your kitchen and you don’t want it to get too hot and steamy. Conversely, make sure you’ve read our tips on keeping your rig warm so you and your guests don’t freeze!
In addition to some warming rugs and curtains, a few candles will add the right kind of lighting for your dinner party. Harsh, fluorescent lights are to be avoided if you want your guests to stay a while. Soft gold side lighting, such as that of a candle, creates an atmosphere of warmth, beauty and casual elegance.
Naturally, Twister is out. Charades probably too. Tabletop games, such as cards or word games, are the go-to for enclosed dinner parties. If you’re with another couple, The Newlywed Game, in which one partner has to guess the other’s answer to a question, provides a lot of fun. For that, or a game of either Password or Consequences, all you need is some paper, some pens and some imagination.
Cards are also a great option, and no caravan can be complete without a deck. Unlike board games, a deck of cards is small, compact and easy to move around. The one deck can provide hours of fun with many different games being playable.
So there you have it! Those are our tips for a holding a wintertime dinner party in your caravan or motorhome!