Tips for a Sophisticated Garden Party

Barbecue parties are fun, but if you crave a more elegant type of summer gathering try cooling off with a sophisticated garden party. We love any excuse to dress up, nibble finger sandwiches, and maybe even wear a hat. Even if your garden get together is casual these tips and tasty recipes from Neilson-Massey will help to make it special.
Tips for hosting an elegant summer garden soirée:
Create a summer cocktail favorite with a unique garden twist like Nielsen-Massey’s Rose Sangria.
Use freshly cut flowers or bunches of herbs tied with a simple ribbon for centerpieces with natural garden fragrance.
Enhance ripe tomato flavors in a savory appetizer like Nielsen-Massey’s Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes with Pure Lemon Extract.
Float votive candles in water to add light. Add flower petals to the water for an authentic garden aroma.
Intensify summer flavors by mixing Nielsen-Massey Orange Blossom Water with fruit-flavored yogurt as a light citrus topping for a dessert of freshly picked fruit.
As guests arrive, start the party off with a summer cocktail favorite, Rose Sangria. The Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Vanilla extract and Rose Water lighten the drink – allowing the freshness of the lemons and limes to pop. Add sprigs of fresh mint as a garnish for a bright garden taste.
Nielsen-Massey’s Rose Sangria 
Serves 4-6
1 apple, peeled and quartered
10 whole cloves
1 lemon, thinly sliced rounds
1 lime, thinly sliced rounds
1 orange, thinly sliced rounds
½ cup brandy, chilled
1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine, chilled
1 ½ cups pulp free orange juice, chilled
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Rose Water
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Stud apple by pushing the clove stems into the prepared apple quarters. In a large glass pitcher, place the clove-studded apple quarters with the citrus fruit slices. Sprinkle Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar over the fruit, pour brandy over the sugared fruit and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours to infuse the flavors. Before serving, remove the clove-studded apple and discard, crush the infused citrus fruits slightly with a wooden spoon. Stir in the wine, orange juice, Nielsen-Massey Rose Water and Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh mint.
Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons finely minced shallots
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
⅛ Teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 ounces blue cheese crumbles
2 pints cherry tomatoes (approximately 48)
Combine the wine and shallots in a small bowl. Let stand. Combine the cream cheese, garlic, lemon extract, white pepper, cayenne pepper and shallot mixture in a mixing bowl. Beat until well blended using an electric mixer. Fold in the bleu cheese with a wooden spoon. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator.
Rinse the cherry tomatoes. Remove the tops by slicing a small amount off each tomato. Scoop out the seeds with a small measuring spoon. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each tomato so it will stand upright when plated. Fill each tomato with ½ tablespoon of the chilled Lemon-Bleu Stuffing using a pastry bag or spoon.
Note: Use the Lemon-Bleu stuffing as a gourmet appetizer. Spread it on toasted slices of a French baguette then top with small cooked shrimp.
Makes 24 Tablespoons of Stuffing for 48 Tomatoes
Additional DolceDolce tips:
Focus on cool, easy to eat bite-sized finger sandwiches and stuffed mini vegetables. Favorite filling included, smoked salmon, chopped egg, shrimp, lobster salad, and cucumber-cream cheese.
Always serve plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. Try our refreshing Lavender Lemonade.
This is pretty and sweet, and goes great with iced tea. Be sure to use organic lavender!
2 cups of fresh lemon juice. Squeeze it. This will take about 5-6 lemons, but get at least 12 for a tea party.
2 cups of sugar or just use 1½ cups if you like it tart – and I do!
Heat the lemon juice and the sugar together with 1 quart or liter of water until the sugar dissolves. If you want lavender lemonade, steep a small bunch of lavender in a teabag, ball, or cheese cloth in the warm syrup for 5 minutes. Remove. Split your syrup into two pitchers, add about 1½ liters/ quarts of water to each and chill. Garnish with lemon slices / lavender sprigs and serve in tall glasses over ice.