For foodies, wine-pairing dinners are the height of sophistication; there’s something so elegant about a sommelier recommending wines and explaining how the notes complement the flavors in a dish.
And cannabis connoisseurs are following suit. Food and cannabis go hand in hand, after all, so it was only a matter of time before swanky canna-pairing parties became in vogue.
While you can certainly infuse your dishes with THC and CBD, we’re not talking about food actually cooked with cannabis. Instead, we’re focusing on creating a wonderful overall experience with some truly phenomenal pairings. In this case, food is served as usual and each course is enhanced by a specially chosen strain, so you can pique your appetite and appreciate the nuances of each dish.
Get your canna-curious friends together for a magical evening of food and cannabis with our tips below.
Have a game plan
There are a number of ways you can structure your cannabis dinner party, but you want to plan how the evening will progress. Will you offer vapes or flower? Should your guests consume throughout the evening casually as they see fit? Is there a specific flow you want people to follow (for example, sampling different strains at the beginning of the meal, before each course, or after)? Decide how you want the dishes and cannabis to be consumed and set a few suggested guidelines from the get-go.
Set the atmosphere
A good vibe is key to making your guests feel at ease. Choose comfortable chairs and pillows, have a seating plan, and light candles if you’re dining indoors. For an al fresco dinner, a string of twinkle lights can do wonders to create an enchanting atmosphere. Curate a music playlist that coordinates with your theme or adds a certain level of ambiance to the evening.
Embrace a theme
Everyone loves a theme. This will heavily influence your menu and vice versa, but if you’re hosting a “fine dining” experience, feel free to go all the way — think white tablecloths, elegant silverware, beautifully plated dishes, and even a semi-formal dress code. Not feeling so bougie? Try an Italian night, with traditional red-and-white tablecloths and plenty of fresh bread and olive oil.
Create a menu
Your menu is the start of the show. Whether you opt for small, tapas-style sharing plates or a decadent, five-course meal, the menu will influence the atmosphere and the pairings, so choose wisely. Vegan, French, local, seafood, or “around the world” — it’s totally up to you. Be sure to keep your guests’ culinary restrictions in mind and offer vegetarian or gluten-free options, if applicable. Don’t feel limited by “dinner” either. Wake and brunch is a wonderful opportunity to offer savory and sweet dishes at an earlier hour.
Choose your pairings wisely
Play the role of cannabis sommelier and guide your guests through the tasting notes of the flower and how it enhances each dish. You want to harmonize your terpenes to get the most out of the flavors. A peppery strain might bring out the flavors in a garlic-and-parmesan pasta. Lemony strains, such as Lemon Haze, will harmonize beautifully with something vibrant, like a citrusy salad or lemon chicken. A blueberry strain is a tasty option for something sweet. A pungent strain like Sour Diesel will enhance an earthier dish (think mushrooms or heirloom carrots) but won’t pair so great with dessert. Do your research to see which terpenes pair best with different flavors.
Another thing to consider is how you want to feel throughout the night. Consider opting for “Time to Shine” products at the beginning of the meal and transitioning to “Unplug” varieties as you relax, digest, and get into dessert.
Go easy on the alcohol
Combining cannabis with alcohol can be hit or miss. While some people can enjoy alcohol and cannabis responsibly, others might feel much more intoxicated than if they had enjoyed just cannabis alone. You don’t want your guests to get sick. Opt for virgin cocktails and have plenty of flat and sparkling water on hand to keep your guests happy and hydrated (and avoid hangovers the next day), as well as some gourmet coffee options for dessert. Finally, make sure everyone has a safe ride home so they can enjoy your cannabis dinner party stress-free.