New Year’s Eve: Turn up the Sparkle!

Your holiday table may not be as large as the one in the Banquet Hall of Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, but don’t let that stop you from creating a memorable and sparkly setting for your New Year’s Eve celebrations at home.

Banquet Hall table set for
Banquet Hall table set for “A Vanderbilt House Party” exhibition in 2019.

Our Biltmore Floral designers are experts in creating shine and polish for all types of events, but especially for New Year’s Eve celebrations around the table.

Here are six ideas for creating Biltmore-inspired decor for your New Year’s Eve celebrations:

  1. Take a look around your home to see what kinds of everyday objects you can transform into extraordinary elements. You’d be surprised by what you can do with what you already have, such as sparkling ornaments from your Christmas tree, candles, glass vases, and the like. Of course, if you come up short, a trip to the local crafts store may be necessary.
  2. Start with table linens to build a base for your centerpiece. Layer your linens, starting with a tablecloth; then add an overlay, and finish with a runner. Build texture by mixing solid colors, metallics, and elegant prints.
  3. If you don’t have them on hand, you can purchase oversized martini or Champagne glasses, or vases for the centerpiece. If room permits, use three different heights and add some tulips to each glass, letting them spill over the edge. Acrylic gems added to the water in the vases will create a sparkling effect.
  4. Another centerpiece idea is to use one or several clear glass vases that are varying in height and fill each vase with water pearls and LED submersible lights (available at any craft store). Metallic twigs in each vase will add extra sparkle to the table.
  5. Don’t forget candlelight! If you have room, use a variety of sizes: pillars, candlesticks, and votives. The more, the better! At the base of your vases and candles, add oversized gems or crystals to reflect the light. For a more whimsical look, add a variety of clocks so you can watch the countdown to the New Year.
  6. Most importantly, remember to have fun and don’t hold back on your creativity.
Detail look at decorative elements
Sparkling ornaments from your Christmas tree can be repurposed for creating a sparkling tablescape.

We hope these ideas from Biltmore’s floral experts help make your New Year’s decor and tablescapes sparkle!

Biltmore Wines—Perfect Partners for Every Occasion

You’re on your way to a casual barbecue with friends—what wine will you bring? How about a special gift for the hostess of a formal dinner—how do you decide? With Biltmore Wines, it’s easy! You can visit our Virtual Sommelier or make the most of the following suggestions from our own Biltmore winemakers:

Turn Casual Into Sensational

Whether you’re headed to a picnic, a potluck, or maybe just want to liven up a weekday dinner at home, let our Biltmore Wines take the guesswork out of the equation. If you’re not sure what’s on the menu, our White (“juicy and sweet”), Red (“bold and savory”), and Rosé (“crisp and refreshing”) Century Wines are especially food-friendly. Casual favorites like grilled burgers beg for our soft and elegant Biltmore Merlot while our award-winning Biltmore Sauvignon Blanc is a refreshing complement to chicken and salads.

Formal Shouldn’t Feel Fussy

The invitation may suggest fancy dress, but you can feel as relaxed in your choice of wine as you would in a less formal setting. Consider our Biltmore Reserve Wines—perhaps our Russian River Pinot Noir for richer fare such as pheasant and salmon, or our Napa Valley Chardonnay with lobster. Our Antler Hill collection is especially elegant, and our Antler Hill Syrah is no exception—particularly when paired with dark chocolate.

Everything Sparkles With Sparkling Wines

Sparkling wines are surprisingly versatile and perfect for almost any occasion. A traditional celebratory toast certainly deserves them, but so does fresh fruit, cheesecake, seafood, and much more! Try sipping any of our bubbly and festive sparkling wines, like our Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs with sushi or our Biltmore Pas de Deux with a rustic apple tart—and you’ll be amazed at the way your favorite flavors come alive!

The Bottom Line

You can select Biltmore Wines by flavor, occasion, or even the style you prefer, from “smooth and luscious” to “hearty and robust.” Biltmore Wines make it easy—and delicious—to pick a fine wine, every time.

Vanderbilt-Inspired Picnic Recipes & Tips

A picnic while visiting Biltmore is a great way to enjoy the pastoral views of the historic estate’s sprawling gardens and grounds, similar to the Vanderbilts and their guests over a century ago.

Make the most of your next picnic with these expert tips plus estate chef recipes for a Vanderbilt-inspired picnic complete with Biltmore wine pairings.

Pauline Dresser, Edith Vanderbilt’s sister, attending a picnic in Langrolay-sur-Rance, France, 1895.

Picnicking with the Vanderbilts

During the Victorian era, picnics were often elaborate, and creating a suitably “rustic” ambiance might require more effort than a formal banquet. Hampers full of special delicacies were carried to remote outdoor locations along with a bewildering array of china and glassware, chairs, cushions, ground covers, tents, sunshades, games, and amusements—plus all the children, pets, and any guests who happened to be visiting.

Picnic Island in the Lagoon on Biltmore Estate, circa 1900.

On Biltmore Estate, the Vanderbilt family enjoyed picnics at a special location known as “Picnic Island,” which you can see situated in the Lagoon. At Edith Vanderbilt’s request, a swinging bridge (no longer there) was added for easy access to Picnic Island and estate rangers ensured there was no poison ivy growing there—a task modern picnickers know all too well!

We also know that Mrs. Vanderbilt planned a picnic in May of 1915 on nearby Busbee Mountain, and we have multiple picnic baskets, metal serveware and food canisters included, in our archival collection.

Be sure to pack Biltmore Wines for your next picnic!

Try these modern-day expert picnic tips:

Thank goodness today’s picnics are much simpler! By keeping everything quick and easy, you can enjoy the entire experience from start to finish—even without chairs and fine china. Here are a few tips from our estate experts.

  • Choose a location that offers a scenic view to take in nature’s beauty for your next picnic at Biltmore!
  • Slice a loaf of fresh bread and your favorite cheese into wedges (eliminates the need for utensils), then pair it with wine. Consider our refreshing Biltmore Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheeses or our Cabernet Sauvignon with savory smoked Gouda.
  • Bring along finger-friendly foods such as olives, nuts, and fresh veggies or fruit for a little extra texture.
  • Make a variety of sandwiches the night before. That way, you can be ready to picnic the next day with no prep. Sandwiches also mean you don’t have to bring many separate items—everything’s already combined into a tasty package.
  • Set the scene with a few special touches, such as fresh flowers or a favorite quilt as a picnic cloth.
  • A sparkling wine like our Biltmore Estate Pas de Deux Sparkling makes any occasion special—and won’t leave a stain if spilled on cloth.
  • Grab-and-go snacks or light bites from an estate restaurant or shop are also a great option for a memorable picnic at Biltmore without the fuss.

(Please note: Guests with estate admission, an overnight stay, or an Annual Pass are permitted to picnic on Biltmore Estate. If picnicking on the estate, outside food is only permitted in designated areas.  Outside alcohol and tailgating—including the use of tents, grills, multiple camping chairs/tables, and large coolers—are not permitted anywhere on estate grounds.)

couple enjoys a picnic
A picnic is a picturesque way to enjoy the great outdoors throughout the seasons on Biltmore Estate. 📸 by @camrynglackin

Try these Biltmore-inspired picnic recipes:

Whether you are taking in the views at Biltmore or relaxing at your local park, here are a few recipes and wine pairings our estate chefs recommend for enjoying your next picnic Vanderbilt-style.


Holiday Bacon Deviled Eggs

Pair with Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs

Serves 24

Ingredients:

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Method:

  • Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside.
  • In a small bowl, mash yolks. Stir in the mayonnaise, bacon, cheese, mustard and pepper.
  • Pipe into egg whites.
  • Refrigerate or keep cool until serving.

Harvest Turkey Sandwich with Blackberry-Whole Grain Mustard

Pair with Biltmore Pinot Noir

Yields one sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of focaccia bread, toasted
  • Small handful of fresh baby arugula
  • 2 slices of cooked bacon
  • 2 oz of sliced brie
  • 5 oz of smoked turkey, thinly sliced
  • Blackberry-Whole Grain Mustard*

Blackberry-Whole Grain Mustard Ingredients:

  • 3 fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 oz Whole Grained Mustard

Method:

  • Prepare the mustard by mashing the berries and mix with mustard and set aside.
  • Toast the focaccia, spread the mustard on the top portion of the bread after it is toasted, place the turkey on the bottom, then the sliced brie and add the bacon and arugula and lastly place the top of the focaccia and serve.

Herb Marinated Grilled Vegetables

Pair with Biltmore Sauvignon Blanc

Yields about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 portabella mushrooms, remove gills
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, cut in 6 pieces
  • 1 bunch asparagus, remove bottom two inches and discard
  • 1 red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 vine-ripe tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 oz olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Place oil, garlic, and herbs in a large mixing bowl and stir together. Add all remaining vegetables to bowl except portabellas. Toss vegetables with oil mixture.
  • On a separate plate, rub the portabella with some of the oil mixture on both sides of it.
  • Let vegetables marinate for 10–15 minutes at room temperature. Drain any excess oil off of the vegetables and grill each piece for 1–2 minutes on each side. If the grill flares up, remove more oil from the vegetables. Place vegetables on a platter. Can be served hot or chilled.

Smoked Mozzarella and Gemelli Salad

Pair with Biltmore Pinot Grigio

Yields 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound Smoked Mozzarella, large diced
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
  • 1 pound Gemelli pasta
  • 1/2 cup spinach, julienne
  • 1 large red bell peppers, julienne
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon +2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Method:

  • In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until just tender to the bite. Drain and shock in ice water. Drain again thoroughly and place in large mixing bowl. Add smoked mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, red peppers, red onion, and parsley.
  • In a separate bowl, assemble dressing by adding mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, lemon juice, Tabasco, black pepper, and salt. Whisk together.
  • Add dressing to pasta mix and toss together gently, using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate until needed.

Mudslide Cookies

Pair with Biltmore Estate Blanc de Noir

Yields 1 dozen large cookies or 4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. chocolate, unsweetened
  • 1 pound, 8 oz. chocolate, bittersweet
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 8 each eggs
  • 1 pound, 8 oz. sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. cake flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound, 12 oz. chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. walnuts

Method:

  • Melt the chocolates and butter together. Beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Dough will firm as it sits.
  • Scoop and bake at 325 F for 10–14 minutes.

A Vanderbilt-Inspired Thanksgiving

George and Edith Vanderbilt were known for their hospitality at Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. Of course, their holiday celebrations were no different and highlighted the ultimate in food and wine for their guests.

Treat your guests to a Vanderbilt-inspired Thanksgiving menu featuring recipes and suggested wine pairings from our winemaker.

Bring Out The Flavors of Your Feast with Biltmore Wines!

Set your Thanksgiving table with an assortment of Biltmore Wines
Set your Thanksgiving table with an assortment of Biltmore Wines

This special time deserves an equally special wine! Surprise and delight your guests by offering both a red and a white wine option to pair with your Vanderbilt-inspired Thanksgiving menu. Our winemaker recommends selecting our buttery, complex Chardonnay and our elegant and medium-bodied Pinot Noir to grace your holiday table.

For a delicious and festive option fit for a Vanderbilt, our Biltmore Estate Winemaker suggests choosing any of our Biltmore sparkling wines to complement your Thanksgiving meal from start to finish.

Vanderbilt-Inspired Recipes

George Vanderbilt’s Favorite Turkey and Cornbread Dressing
George Vanderbilt’s Favorite Turkey and Cornbread Dressing

Main Course: George Vanderbilt’s Favorite Turkey and Cornbread Dressing

Fun Fact: The creator of this recipe, Ellen Davis, came to Biltmore House from the community of Avery Creek in the spring of 1899 to work as a cook for the Vanderbilts. She fell in love with Thomas H. Johnson, a groomsman in the Stables, and they were married the following spring. This recipe was a favorite of George and Edith Vanderbilt’s, and it became a tradition for Ellen Johnson to prepare it for them each year.

Ingredients:

  • 20–25 pound turkey
  • Cornbread, prepared
  • 6 buttermilk biscuits, prepared
  • 1 dozen eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup ground sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

Rinse turkey and rub with salt inside and out.
Using a large boiler or cooker, place turkey in enough water to almost cover it (one gallon or more).
Heat to boiling point and cook on medium for about 2 1/2 hours or until breast is tender; use a ladle to baste broth over the breast meat to keep it moist.

For cornbread dressing:
Bake a large pan of cornbread using your favorite cornbread recipe.
Bake about six buttermilk biscuits using your favorite recipe, or purchase frozen biscuits and bake.
Peel eggs and chop or grate them into large mixing bowl. Add onions, celery, sage, salt and pepper. Crumble cornbread and biscuits into bowl.
When the turkey is done, pour turkey broth over the cornbread dressing until the desired consistency is reached. Mix well, using plenty of broth so that dressing will be moist and soft when done.

Place turkey in center of large baking pan. Spoon dressing into and around the turkey. Bake in 425ºF oven for about 45 minutes. If turkey browns too soon, cover with aluminum foil.

Side Dish: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Shallots Minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • ½ tablespoon fresh sage
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Peel and dice the sweet potato into ½ inch pieces. Season with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment-lined baking tray. Place in oven and bake until the sweet potatoes start to turn golden brown and tender.
  • In a large skillet sauté the shallots and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, add pumpkins seeds and cranberries and cook one minute.
  • Add sweet potato and chicken stock to skillet, bring to a boil then add butter, remove from heat, stir until butter is melted.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Side Dish: Haricot Vert (Green Beans)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound haricot vert
  • Salt to taste
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • Pepper to taste

Method:

  • Cut off the ends of the beans. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add enough salt to taste like ocean water.
  • Add the beans and cook for 4 minutes or until done to taste. Drain and plunge into ice water. Drain and place on paper towels to absorb the moisture.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan. Add the beans and sauté for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.
  • Cook until any liquid has evaporated and the beans are glazed; keep warm.

Side Dish: Creamed Corn

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears fresh corn
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped leek
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Method:

  • Cut the kernels from the cobs and discard the cobs.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek, shallot and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the corn and cook until the corn is tender.
  • Add the wine, stirring up any of the mixture that has adhered to the bottom of the saucepan. Cook until the wine has evaporated.
  • Add the cream and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or to the desired consistency, stirring occasionally.
  • Season with thyme, salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Dessert: Apple Tart

Ingredients for Pastry:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Streusel:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Ingredients for Tart:

  • 4-5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Ingredients for Garnish:

  • Sliced, dried figs
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Method:

  • For pastry: combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Cream together with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour gradually, mixing until incorporated. Shape into a disk then wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2–8 hours.
  • For topping: mix flour and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add butter and work with fingers until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • For tart: preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss apples with sugar and spices in a bowl. Spray a tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Roll the pastry dough to 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and place in pan, pressing into bottom and trimming any excess dough. Spoon apple mixture into pastry and sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove to a serving plate and garnish with figs; serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.