African American Heritage Dinner Party: Decor and Menu Ideas

We couldn’t let the chance pass to honor African American Heritage Month this February. So, we felt it would only be fitting to present ideas for a dinner party celebrating the colorful aesthetic and “soul food” cuisine of African American families. The overall ambiance is heartwarming and welcoming, and the suggested menu items are like a taste of home! Just the type of gathering you’d love to host for family and dear friends.

Decor inspiration: Warm colors, striking patterns

African American Heritage Dinner Party Ideas - The Party Suite at Bellenza

Elegant dinnerware (1), like the Midnight Sun collection by Pfaltzgraff, would set the perfect tone for this dinner party—combining a crafty pattern with a sophisticated matte-and-glossy glaze.

Your serve ware could feature varied materials—from wooden bowls (2) with a striking modern design, as we spotted from Louis Boston, to earthenware platters and jugs, to etched metal trays.

A burst of color and texture at mid-table could be a fabulous birds of paradise centerpiece (3), much like this arrangement by Brandy by Design Ltd. (on etsy).

For eye-catching fabrics to grace your living room, think of varied throw pillow covers (4), as seen via Thriftionary, to add both comfort and color to each guest’s seat!

And for a truly delightful dinner party gift, why not surprise each family represented with a cookbook of well-loved African American recipes (5)? Thanks to Nancie McDermott for featuring some amazing ones to choose from!

What to serve: Comfort food with “soul”

African American Recipe Finds | The Party Suite at Bellenza.

Speaking of cookbooks and recipes…your dinner party has got to make everyone feel right at home with a menu of Southern staples. See the selection we’ve put together and click on the links for each recipe. Talk about mouthwatering and heartwarming!

  1. Fried catfishSouthern Living actually offers 3 variations of catfish dishes, including tips for how best to fry the fillets. So take your pick!
  2. Collard greens – Traditionally cooked with salt pork, this recipe from Bham Magazine offers a healthier way to enjoy this Southern veggie dish.
  3. Roasted chicken leg quarter – This recipe from Soul Food Queen promises major flavor with 2 kinds of pepper and 3 herbs.
  4. Bacon and cheddar cheese grits casserole – A jazzed-up version of traditional grits, featuring your choice of cheese and crisp, crumbled bacon. Thanks to NPR.
  5. Sweet tea – And of course, what would a soul food meal be without this iconic beverage to balance all the rich food flavors! Try this recipe from The Hungry Southerner.
  6. Bourbon BBQ baked beans – Another well-loved staple gets an added splash of flavor with whiskey, as we discovered via A Dash of Soul.
  7. Sweet potato pie – Made with fresh sweet potatoes, cinnamon and brown sugar, this treat courtesy of is an ideal dinner dessert.
  8. Banana pudding – Whip up this easy dessert by Sandra Lee using instant vanilla pudding as seen on Food Network

Consider other favorites like smothered chicken and rice, Southern style shrimp, and pinto beans and ham. You can even consider fried chicken! If you’re looking beyond sweet tea, try these drink ideas: red drink, peach julep, watermelon iced tea, and pink lemonade. As for desserts, lemon meringue pie, bourbon balls, red velvet cake, and peach cobbler are yummy choices.

So whether you choose this special African American Heritage Month or any other time of the year, this is just the sort of dinner party that would be a joy to host. And to be invited to (hint, hint)!

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