Start the party

Get the champagne on ice and gather your friends, because now’s the time to pull out all the stops with our tasty ideas for quick canapés and cheers-worthy cocktails

Crowd-pleasing canapés

Whether you're hosting a Christmas Eve event or a post-Christmas drinks party, kick it all off with a bang with our The Collection party selection – an irresistible mix of elegant pre-made canapé bites that will keep guests coming for more including creamy lobster mac and cheese and crispy chips wrapped in a tender piece of steak.

These showstoppers look beautiful all on their own, but, for added glitz, why not try decorating with micro herbs? Not only do they look pretty, they give a subtle hit of flavour too. Try rich purple amaranth, which has a slightly earthy quality; grass-green micro garlic chives with their hint of fresh onion or peppery burgundy red basil.

Pick your party pieces

Pull these speedy party tricks out of your hat come your next celebration for wow-factor without the fuss

Quick DIY buffet bites

If people arrive unexpectedly, whip up these easy-peasy mini toasts while you crack open the fizz and pop our oven-ready canapés in to cook. Toast thin triangles of pitta bread until crispy then top with 1 tsp soft cheese. Scatter with pomegranate seeds, dill and mint leaves for a splash of colour.

Finish on a sweet note

Make frosted fruit to serve with desserts and cheese for instant impact with none of the hassle of sugar work. Dip in whisked egg white, then roll in granulated sugar and leave to harden before decorating everything from our The Collection whole Brie de Nangis to an iced Christmas cake. Try with grapes, cranberries or raspberries for a flush of festive red.

Expert wine picks

"With so many different festive gatherings, choosing wine can be a little overwhelming, so I've picked a few of my foolproof favourites," says M&S wine expert Elizabeth Kelly. "Start by raising a toast with Herbert Beaufort Grand Cru. From the aptly named Bouzy in France, this luxurious champagne tastes of red fruit and buttery brioche. It’s a blanc-de-noir style, which is a white bubbly made from red grapes, so it’s rich and smooth – a real treasure, especially if you find some champagne too acidic.

“For two great party wines, look no further than Vaglio malbec 2016 and Craft 3 Marlborough sauvignon blanc 2016 – two stylish, elegant and fruity wines that get on with anything and anyone – not always easy! Lovely by themselves, they’re great with a range of party food, too.”

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