By D. Channing Muller Posted December 7, 2011, 1:45 PM EST
Local event Web site Things To Do D.C. hosted its sixth annual holiday party for 350 people Saturday night at the Embassy of Italy. The company, which has hosted cultural events at embassies around town for 12 years, partners with a different embassy each year to bring a younger demographic to the institutions around the city.
“These embassies know who we are, and they do a lot of events for older people with businesses and charity groups, but they never really get their chance to introduce themselves to the young up-and-coming future leaders of tomorrow,” said the company’s C.E.O., Greg Bland. “We bring a new audience to them.”
Bland took inspiration from the venue for the catering and entertainment plan for the night. Beginning with a V.I.P. reception for 100 people, Delicious Gourmet served Italian classics like tortellini and meatballs alongside platters of olives, various cheeses, and breads. The catering company replaced the dinner buffet with desserts about an hour later when the doors opened for those who purchased the $99 general admission ticket. Dessert options included cannolis, tiramisu, assorted Italian chocolates, and traditional Italian cookies in red and green. Across the atrium, a specialty bar served tastings of four brands of red, white, and sparkling Italian wines.
“The goal is to introduce young professionals to the culture of other countries, and there is two ways to do this: travel to the country, which can be very expensive, and second best thing is to travel there through the embassy,” said Bland.
Throughout the night, a travel video about Italy played in the embassy’s auditorium just off the main atrium. DJ Kurtis Cross from the Mid Atlantic Professional DJ Association played hip-hop, salsa, and top 40 hits with a few retro classics mixed in until nearly midnight. Opera singers also performed classic pieces from the Baroque through the Romantic periods of Italian opera.