Ina Garten's Big No-No When It Comes To Dinner Party Gifts

People at dinner party
People at dinner party - Anchiy/Getty Images

When you're invited to someone's house for dinner, it's always a nice gesture to bring a gift. Not only does it show that you appreciate the effort your host has put into planning the evening for you, but it can also be a great way to leave a good impression if it's a newer relationship.

While you may think cooking a side dish or whipping up a quick sensational salad to bring with you is the way to go, you might want to avoid this. Ina Garten stated on Barefoot Contessa that she avoids bringing "something that the host feels obliged to serve for dinner."

That way, if the host wants, they can share the gift you brought. However, they can also enjoy it on their own later without throwing off their menu plans or worrying about whether or not your contribution will actually pair with the meal they made.

Read more: 11 Discontinued Chocolates We Miss The Most

Ideas For What Gifts To Bring To A Dinner Party

A box of chocolates
A box of chocolates - Alex Desanshe/Shutterstock

If you're struggling to come up with what to actually give your host, Ina Garten has a few ideas for that. On her website, she says that a good idea is to "bring something they can serve after dinner, like a box of Fran's Chocolate's caramels, or for breakfast the next day, like my favorite coffee and granola."

Chocolates work well because your host can still serve a dessert and dish out the chocolates with coffee as a way to wrap up the evening. Or, they can tuck them away to enjoy on their own later. While Fran's Chocolates are Garten's favorite craft chocolates to gift, you can give any brand or style that you prefer — the more personal the gift, the more meaningful it is.

If you like the breakfast idea, there are several options. Although Garten suggests coffee and granola, you could also bring something like simple blueberry muffins or scones. If you know your host is not a fan of coffee, a nice box of tea or your favorite hot chocolate brand could be a good pick.

Besides these ideas, you can also come up with other options that won't make the host feel obligated to serve them at the party. A nice jar of honey or jam, a gourmet snack mix, or chocolate-covered strawberries are a few great examples.

Other Gifts To Give Dinner Party Hosts

Person giving a box with bow
Person giving a box with bow -

Besides food items, you can bring a few other nice touches showing your host you care. A bouquet of fresh flowers or a potted plant can be excellent options, particularly if your host has a green thumb. You can get extra creative and choose flowers with special meanings if you want. Yellow roses, for instance, are often associated with friendship, whereas pink ones can symbolize appreciation. Or, you could go for sweet peas, which are also associated with appreciation as well as happiness.

If plants or flowers aren't their thing, try giving them a scented candle. These can be particularly fun if you're able to match them with a theme for the evening. Think gingerbread-scented candles around the holidays or floral for gatherings in spring.

One common pick people often go with is wine. However, if you give wine, don't expect the host to open it at their party. Remember that your wine may not pair with the host's chosen menu, and you don't want them to feel pressured to open it anyway. So, one of Garten's choices, or something else that speaks to your relationship with the host, is the best idea. Just make sure it comes from the heart.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.