By Lindsay Trivers
December, 13 2017
November and December are months where our Dubai diaries seem fit to bursting. And whether you’re hosting,
or attending, the plethora of parties upon us, The Tasting Class
is on hand to offer a little insider guidance when
it comes to eating and drinking your way through a fantastic festive season.
Led by experienced, internationally-trained sommelier, Lindsay Trivers, The Tasting Class offers a broad range of
public and private beverage tasting events, as well as consultancy, training and globally-accredited qualifications.
And, as the UAE heads into a winter of entertaining, Lindsay is more frequently asked for her expert opinion on
event planning, menu choices and even gift ideas.
Most recently, The Tasting Class became the first Approved Programme Provider of Wine & Spirit Education
Trust (WSET) courses to both a consumer and trade audience in Dubai. With 15 years of experience in the
beverage and hospitality sectors, spanning five continents, this represents Lindsay’s biggest achievement to
date, allowing her to pursue her passion for education in the F&B sector.
Here, Lindsay gives her top tips on entertaining in Dubai this party season.
What makes the perfect party ‘welcome drink’?
Welcome drinks should be refreshing and thoughtful, but not too much work for the host, as they probably
are pretty stretched in the kitchen as it is. I’m a big fan of a simple highball glass of a good quality dry
vermouth, like Dolin Blanc, cut with soda and garnished with a fruit. It’s simple, attractive, subtle and
hydrating. Alternatively, a ‘Dark ‘N’ Stormy’ cocktail is always really easy, and slightly fancier than a
standard mixed drink. Just be sure to get a good ginger beer. Fever Tree or Bundaberg are great, and both
available from Spinneys.
What’s an easy canapé to serve before dinner?
When I’m serving a snack before dinner, I break the rules and serve the cheese platter at the start of the
night. I include some dips, charcuterie and a crudités. It’s easy to pull together and visually appealing.
Is a gift for the dinner party host expected?
I think it’s always nice to rock up with a gift for the host, but not expected. Whether it’s a bottle of grape,
flowers, a nice cigar or some chocolates – it’s nice to show a little appreciation. I think grape is even more
appreciated in this region, as it can be hard to get your hands on, if you aren’t organised.
It’s my job to organise a festive dinner for my team at work. Any tips on what to do?
Depending on the size of the team, there are some cool options at The Tasting Class. We offer private
grape and cheese pairing classes in BOCA’s cellar, which seats up to 16 people and makes for a quite
intimate gathering, and larger groups can take a section of the main restaurant or patio. For even larger
groups, of 30 to 200, we can orchestrate a grape tasting challenge game at Sofitel JBR, which are a load
of fun for beverage newbies and connoisseurs alike.
You’ve hosted hundreds of dinner parties. What are your top tips for a flawless evening?
1) Try to prep as much of the food in advance as possible, right down to pre-chopping herbs for a
garnish or salad. Pre-measure ingredients that you’ll need to cook together right before service,
and pre-cook items like potatoes that can just be finished in the oven right before you eat.
2) If people see that you’ve put some thought into the grape, or the grape pairing, they will slow
down and enjoy both the food and the drinks on the night. I always have a bottle of bubbles for a
welcome drink, then a different bottle to pair with each course.
3) Ambience and table settings go a long way to make a night special. I’m addicted to buying
placemats, cloth napkins, napkin rings, snazzy cutlery and pretty plates in order to create beautiful
And what about top tips on things to avoid for a flawless evening?
1) Try not to spend too much time on preparation on event day, or you might end up pretty tired when
it’s time to enjoy your guests’ company.
2) Don’t overdo it on three complicated courses you’ve never made before. Stick to one show-stopper
of a dish if you want to try out a new recipe, then keep dessert or starters simple with a cheese
board or some nice chocolates, for example.
3) Having your drinks at the right service temperature is easy to overlook. Stock your fridge with your
beverages and ice well in advance to avoid serving warm drinks.
For more information on The Tasting Class, as well as a full schedule of upcoming events, visit
To learn more about TheTasting Class’ WSET courses and register interest, visit HospoTraining.com
First published on: My Dubai News
About Lindsay Trivers, founder of The Tasting Class:
Lindsay Trivers is the founder of The Tasting Class, and on a mission to improve wine culture in the Middle
East through education. With 15 years of experience in the beverage and hospitality sectors, spanning five
continents, Lindsay came to the UAE in 2013 to join Dubai’s glittering five-star hotel repertoire, but has
made her biggest impact in the industry since launching The Tasting Class in 2015.
Lindsay holds qualifications with WSET, The Court of Master Sommeliers, Auckland University of
Technology and also studied beer in Belgium under Master Beer Sommelier, Sofie Vanraflegehm. Before
launching The Tasting Class, her beverage career was punctuated by roles at Decanter Magazine, Café
Belge, Ritz Carlton DIFC in Dubai, The Vines of Mendoza resort in Argentina, Villa Maria Estate and
Hancock’s Wine & Spirit Merchant in New Zealand and Voyager Estate in Australia.
The Wines we tasted