It’s the last day of 2012! Are you ready for 2013? Are you ready for that New Year’s Eve party tonight? My favorite way to bring in the new year is with dinner and cocktails with friends. Whether you are going to a friend’s gathering or hosting your own there’s some simple things you can prepare to help make the night special. Here’s some last-minute suggestions for what you can bring to tonight’s New Year’s Eve Party.

Star Fruit
As far as I’m concerned this should be the official cocktail garnish of New Year’s. Just as the Christmas tree isn’t complete until that shiny star is placed on top, a New Year’s cocktail isn’t complete without a slice perched on the rim of a glass. Slice a star fruit into 1/4″ thick pieces and put them in a bowl to bring to your party tonight. If you’ve got a few extra minutes, roast them on a hot grill for a few minutes per side until they get a nice char on them. I particular like that extra bit of blackened flavor.

Roasted Olives with Fennel
If you got the grill started already, why stop there? Roast some olives as well. Put some in a pouch of aluminum foil and roast on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes. Roasting them inside a cast iron skillet will work as well if you have one. Sprinkle some fennel seed over top for added flavor.

The dry, salty kernels of popcorn will go perfectly with your champagne tonight. Simply pop some and spice it up with black pepper, garlic salt, and perhaps a dash or two of truffle oil. If you like more spice, add some red pepper flakes. If you like it mild go with some shaved parmesan and thyme. Whatever you add it’ll be great.

Cured Meats
You can’t go wrong with cured meat at a New Year’s party – unless all your friends are vegetarian. I particularly love some prosciutto de Parma. It’s snack-able all by itself or great paired with crackers and some cheese. Speaking of cheese…

Cheddar Cheese
I particularly enjoy white cheddar with some champagne on New Year’s. Grab a good block from your local grocer or if you’re feeling like making things extra special try this Somerdale Champagne Cheddar that is infused with –  you guessed it – Champagne. This is available exclusively at Whole Foods and everyone I’ve enjoyed it with has loved the creamy, slightly sweet flavor. The Champagne you see pictured is a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut (also from Whole Foods). My friends all noted how smooth and light it finished, while still being classically dry like a Champagne.

I think any of these items will be a sure-fire hit at tonight’s party. Cheers! Happy New Year’s!

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