The social distancing dinner date of your dreams
Welcome to fair Corona! I mean…Verona. I dreamt about hosting A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a decade before hosting my beloved Midsummer party last year. Never once did it cross my mind to host a Romeo and Juliet themed dinner but last month I was walking my dog Henry when Taylor Swift’s Love Story came blasting through my headphones and the concept came to me all at once: a Romeo and Juliet themed dinner with separate dining tables.
We ate a Renaissance-inspired dinner and drank wine from from two rival vineyards in Tuscany. I ate at my Juliet-themed bistro table up on the balcony while my friend Matt ate down below in the garden at his Romeo-themed bistro table. Voila, social distancing entertaining! Here’s how I did it, recipes and all.
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
I hosted Romeo and Juliet at my parents’ house (my childhood home), which not only has a balcony but a pretty old world garden: an iron fence, mint and oregano tumbling out of garden beds, a bird bath, and walls of greenery. The only ambiance I added was the wisteria hanging on the balcony for that Tuscan garden aesthetic. You might recognize the wisteria from Disney Dinners: Hercules!
Romeo sat at a white bistro table in the grass by the pool adorned with a white lace tablecloth. I styled Romeo’s table with all things silver: a silver charger, silver goblet (in lieu of a wine glass), silverware, a silver Montague place card, and a silver candelabra (which you might recognize from Disney Dinners: Haunted Mansion).
I arranged a dozen red roses in a low vase because what screams Romeo more than a red rose? Not only is a red rose the most romantic flower but also on theme. After all, one of the most famous lines from the play is, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.” For this same reason, both Romeo and Juliet had a white napkin (for their youth and innocence) with a red rose napkin ring.
I set up Juliet’s table on the balcony overlooking Romeo’s table. I’m pleased to say, we could see and hear each other just fine! Because Romeo and Juliet are from feuding households, I styled Juliet’s table with all things gold: a gold charger, gold wine glass, gold flatware, a gold Capulet place card, and a gold candelabra (which I’m sure you recognize from Disney Dinners: Beauty and the Beast).
Juliet’s bouquet consisted of white roses to signify her purity and brief marriage to Romeo, a mini green hydrangea (since Juliet never reached maturity), and lilies to signify her untimely death.
I found this Renaissance-esque dress on Amazon for less than $30, can you believe it? I wanted old world vibes and paired the dress with a flower crown I got at Scarborough Renaissance Festival when I was a teenager. I wanted flats since I ran up and down the stairs about a thousand times filming this episode so I wore lace-up rose slip-on shoes.
Matt went for a breezy summer look with brown pants rolled up and a white button-down.
“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
I served sangiovese, a nice light summer red, to go with our chicken dinner. We each had our own bottle from two rival vineyards in Tuscany, which is where Romeo and Juliet is set.
Romeo drank Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a complex sangiovese with lingering finish. Personally I tasted a bit of smoke and wood chips with a red current flavor.
Juliet drank Avignonese Rosso di Montepulciano, an incredibly smooth and enjoyable red that’s perfect for summer. It’s light and easy to drink in the heat with a lovely, floral scent and subtle vanilla flavors. Fun fact: this is one of the oldest vineyards in Tuscany, with a history dating back to the late 1300s, exactly the time that Romeo and Juliet is set.
I wanted a rustic, old-world menu that was reminiscent of a noble Renaissance meal: meat, potatoes, bread, wine, and a Tuscan twist! I served a whole chicken with two sauces, rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled bread with butter sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt, and a rose-shaped bundt cake for dessert.
“Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”
Romeo & Juliet Chicken
The ultimate date night dish! A whole grilled chicken is served with two sauces: Romeo sauce and Juliet sauce. Romeo’s sauce is a homemade pecorino pesto because Romeo is, let’s face it, a little green. Juliet’s sauce is an incredible sun-dried tomato pesto because poor Juliet meets a bloody end. Get the recipe here.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
A delicious compliment to any meal, these old-world roasted fingerling potatoes are divine with both Romeo and Juliet sauce. Get the recipe here.
A Rose By Any Other Name Bundt Cake
A cake by any other name would taste as sweet! This bundt cake is shaped like a rose thanks to a specialty pan and has an Italian secret ingredient: Fiori di Sicilia. The “flower of Italy” is an orange vanilla extract that makes everything taste fancy. Get the recipe here and eat this beautiful cake all summer long with whipped cream and berries.
“Give me my sin again.”
Social Distancing Serving
I served Matt bread from up on the balcony via basket tied with a 20′ string. I can’t take any credit for this fun serving suggestion – it was my friend Irene’s idea! I highly recommend this whimsical serving method if you want to stay a safe distance from your friends.
Watch the Romeo and Juliet episode here:
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“Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”
Thus with a kiss, I say goodbye,