A dinner party is a great way to celebrate some of the best things in life: great friends and great food. When you are invited to a dinner party, even if you know the host or hostess quite well, it is polite to bring a gift for the host as a way to say thank you for opening up their home. Choosing an appropriate gift depends on a few factors such as who is throwing the party and how formal of an affair it is, but making the right selection doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive.
A bottle of wine is a great, though somewhat obvious choice. If you are going to present the host with a bottle of wine, make sure you put a little effort into it. Try and find out what kind of food is being served at the party and pair the wine accordingly. Many higher end liquor stores will have someone on hand to help make a selection. Also be prepared to tell the recipient a little bit about your choice; no one expects you to be an expert, but they will appreciate the extra bit of thoughtfulness. Also, for the extra few dollars, buy a nice wine bag to present the wine in. It is just another small detail that makes the gift extra special.
If your host is not a big drinker, or you just find wine too intimidating, bringing a nice dessert or other sweet treat is also a great idea. If you are so inclined, roll up your sleeves and bake something yourself, maybe a family recipe, or a personal favorite. But if baking is not your thing, buying something ready made is perfectly fine. Most communities have great neighborhood bakeries who can supply you with freshly made treats. Go for something seasonal, like a Christmas ring or peach pie. Gourmet chocolates are also widely available and are a good choice if you suspect your hostess may have prepared dessert as well. If your host is a real foodie, you can even take the gourmet gift idea to another level. Rare or expensive spices, exotic, flavored salts, or a bottle of aged balsamic will impress any food lover.
If you are not particularly close with the hostess, maybe because it is a business associate or a new neighbor, you may not be aware of their tastes in food and might want to select something for the home instead like a large scented candle with holder for a candlelit dinner or a set of artsy wine charms. Another great gift idea is a pound of high end coffee. Almost everyone has a coffee drinker in the house, which makes it a safe bet, and you don’t need to be a gourmand to appreciate a hot mug of great coffee. The best way to select a hostess gift for a dinner party is to think of a way to treat the recipient, to show them that you appreciate them putting in all the hard work to create a lovely party.