Dine-in and prepare a festive tablescape and menu

We've discovered the endless options for entertaining any crowd at home. Here are some of the best dinner-party resources abound in the hills of Litchfield County.

I relish the weekends when we have the opportunity to entertain at home. Whether it’s a plated dinner or a more casual supper with friends and neighbors, my family always enjoys setting a festive table and menu. Living in Litchfield County affords so many options for entertaining.

Recently, we discovered how easy and delicious homemade pizzas can be… as a starter before  dinner or simply with a tossed arugula salad as lunch. Three elements turn an ordinary pizza into culinary alchemy (that is, in addition to having talented 10-and 13-year-old chefs): first, having one’s own vegetable and herb garden (or access to organic vegetables and herbs); second, a wonderful market selling prepared organic pizza dough; and finally, a local kitchen store that sells all the necessary pizza accoutrements.

Bantam Market, the sister location to Northville Market in Northville, is a natural destination for some of the freshest produce and all things wholesome and organic, including our favorite Shipyard beer pizza dough. The market officially opened its doors last year and has become an indispensable destination for anyone in search of smaller, hard to find food brands. Bantam Market, 793 Bantam Rd., Bantam, 860-567-8647, northvillemkt.com.

Nestled in the hamlet of New Preston is New Preston Kitchen Goods, where you’ll find just about everything for cooking, slicing, dicing, preparing and, of course, making pizza. We have collected some of the best kitchen gadgetry from here, including garlic dicers, mandolines, ceramic knives and roasting pans. It’s one of those destinations you will never leave empty-handed. New Preston Kitchen Goods, 11 East Shore Rd., New Preston, 860-868-1264.

I’m always looking for invites, note cards and wrapping papers that are unusual and personal. And thanks to my friend Susanna Salk, a regular customer at DK Schulman, I made this wonderful discovery. Dana, the owner, will even have your place cards and invitations electronically calligraphed for your next big event at breakneck speed. Beware, you will not leave this store empty handed either! I left with a box of note cards reminiscent of a geometric wallpaper I once used in a powder room. DK Schulman, 15 East Shore Rd., New Preston, 860-868-4300, dkschulmandesign.com.

After your stationery purchases, it’s time to visit Dana Schulman’s other establishment next door. At Sweets, you’ll find everything from Paso Almonds butter almond brittle, which sells out as fast as it arrives, to countless flavors of jelly beans and my children’s favorite, candy corn, which is popular well after Halloween in my house. There is nothing more festive than a custom selection of yummies as a parting gift for dinner guests. Sweets, 13 East Shore Rd., New Preston, 860-868-3388.

Up the road in Litchfield, I just discovered Oliphant Design. Owned by Cara Hotchkiss, who designs stunning jewelry, Oliphant also has a smart collection of home furnishings, as well as hostess gifts, candles, trays, glasses, napkins—everything you’ll need to set a fun and memorable table for any type of entertaining. The store is a treat to visit, and it’s always exciting to see a new addition to our community. Oliphant Design, 29 West St., Litchfield, 860-567-8199,

Happy entertaining!