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Downton Abbey fans love to share the show with their friends and family. The fabulous food lends itself to themed parties. In this post, I include a few specific ideas for planning a Downton party. For a full list of dishes by meal, check out the Recipe Index.
Want it all in a pretty package? My ebook, Abbey Cooks Entertain, is available for download here (click on the image in the right column), or you can order from Amazon.
I hope to provide inspiration for fans of all cooking ability who want to take a Downton twist on casual or formal gatherings. It is pretty rare to get rich selling books, but every penny helps offset my food costs so I can continue to share new recipes with you every week.
Note for Season 4: We are now in the 1920s and if you are planning to host a Downton Dinner, you will be relieved to know that family dinners during this period are now only 3 courses…unless of course you are entertaining your fellow aristocrats.
Only Time for One Dish? The perfect dish for your Season 4 Launch Party is Manchester Pudding in memory of Matthew.
Don’t just take my word for It: I have given a number of interviews and my recipes have been posted in papers around the world. Check out my Press Page.
Downton Abbey Entertaining Ideas
I have already posted over 180 recipes for foods which would have been served upstairs and down at Downton Abbey and other great English country houses from the Edwardian era through to the early 1920s.
Not all parties have to take place after dark. Why not host an Afternoon Tea? It is the easiest way to entertain and impress your friends. If you can make crustless sandwiches you are off to a good start. Home bakers will be able to master the sweets and my easy scone recipe. Not so skilled in the kitchen? I am sure you are well known for finding the best bakeries in town.
“Signature” Downton Dishes
If you aren’t prepared to do a great deal of cooking but still want to bring a little bit of Downton to your own viewing party, why not try making one memorable item from the show to share with fellow fans.
- Apple Charlotte: the dish that Sir Anthony Strallon wanted Mrs. Patmore to prepare.
- Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette, I love the way Mrs. Patmore pronounces this dish in Season 3.
- Kidney Souffle, Ethel not only burns the souffle, but drops it on the floor in Season 3. I would not be offended if you took a pass on this one!
- Roast Chicken: the cat got one famous chicken, yours doesn’t have to end up on the floor.
- Crêpe Suzette: Enjoyed by the Crawleys and Isis, the dog in S2.
- Oysters à la Russe while also served on Titanic, this dish makes an appearance in Season 3.
- Plum Pudding: which the Dowager had the honor of lighting in the Christmas Episode.
- Strawberry Charlotte Russe: a treat from Season 3 which the Dowager particularly fancied.
- Raspberry Meringue Pudding; from S1, the dish that Mrs. Patmore topped with salt instead of sugar.
- Truffled Egg on Toast: Dish enjoyed by the servants in S3 after Lady Edith was jilted.
- Turkish Delight: in memory of poor Mr. Pamuk.
Downton Servants Hall tribute
Many of our favorite characters live downstairs, so you may wish to invite family and friends over for a dinner of simple, hearty dishes which helped fuel our favorite downstairs team for their long 12+ hour days serving the needs of the Crawley family and the sprawling estate. Convert your Abbey dining room into a servants hall.
- Main Course
- Side Dishes
Tailor your Own Upstairs Menu
With over 180 recipes on my blog, just search for your own combinations of dishes to suit the particular tastes of your own Lords and Ladies. King Edward VII introduced fine French Cuisine to England, and aristocracy enjoyed wonderful food influences from around the British Empire, so enjoy the culinary journey. If you are celebrating Season 4, note that in the 1920s the meals were now only 3 courses, unless of course they were hosting a large dinner party for guests.
- Main Course
- see below
Cocktails and Appetizers
Many savoury dishes served at Afternoon Tea (check out my Online Guide) are perfect for upscale entertaining. This list will grow over the coming weeks. See below for beverage suggestions.
- Beef and Yorkshire Pudding Canapes
- Eggs Drumkilbo: favorite of the Queen Mum
- Goat Cheese and Fig Canapies on Raisin Bread
- Lobster Rissoles with Mousseline Sauce
- Salmon Mousse Pinwheels
- Easy Savoury Scones
- Quick Smoked Salmon Pinwheels
- Stilton and Fig Tarts
- Truffled Wild Mushroom Tartlets
- Truffled egg on Toast
- Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yoghurt Sauce
Anna briefs Mr. Molesley on the wine service (video: ITV)
- Non Alcoholic: fans of John Bates know that he has given up alcohol so you may make a conscious decision to serve non alcoholic drinks in his honor. Some Edwardian standards include:
- Alcoholic: while you may wish to serve cocktails, creating clever names for the characters, they were not served at Downton. You may recall that Mary warned Sir Richard: “I could ask Carson to make one for you, but I can’t guarantee the result.” So consider wines, spirits and liquors for your guests.
- Champagne or sparkling wines would be a great celebratory drink to toast each of the 16 categories.
- Madeira: Edwardians loved madeira, for any fortified wine (sherry, brandy) would be fitting tribute to the Dowager countess
- Wine: a great choice. More details in the coming weeks.
- Scotch: a favorite of the Crawley men, single malt for an upstairs crowd
- Pimm’s: a popular drink in the UK (derived from gin), but might more suitable for the summer. If you do live in the lower states it might be suitable as thirst quencher. Check out my Pimm’s Punch recipe, my favorite.
Downton Desserts: English Favorites
If dessert and coffee is more your cup of tea, you could serve traditional English dessert and tea favorites. I have also included a few recipes fancied by the Royal Family.
- Fruit Breads
*Downton Reading Suggestions
I have reviewed a few Downton Abbey era books which you may enjoy:
- Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley (the latest Downton book)
- Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon
- The World of Downton Abbey, by Jessica Fellowes (great photos from the set)
- The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era with great new pics of S3.
- Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, by The Countess of Carnarvon
- Beyond Downton Abbey, by Deb Hosey, David Stuart (great houses in England)