Wow, a cioppino party for 80!!!! I can't even imagine. Very impressive Leah, and those pics made my mouth water.
Here's a bit more Christmas joy we shared. As a tribute to my wife's German ancestry we made Gluhwein Christmas night. Here is the recipe and the backstory.
This traditional hot beverage is called Gluhwein (pronounced Gluu-vine) in Bavaria. Gluhwein means "glow wine." It is a festive seasonal drink. I was introduced to Gluhwein when my wife and I went to Innsbruck, Austria on January 1, 1988, the day after I got out of the Navy. A senior chief I worked with at the time said I had to try the local seasonal beverage called Gluhwein. The tavern in the basement of the hotel where we stayed served Gluhwein in ceramic carafes and cups. We loved it! We tried for years to duplicate the flavor since with no success. When we found the recipe below we could tell just from the smell alone it was perfect.
I got this recipe from Panera Bread Company. It was called Donna's Glow Wine. It makes a party sized volume of Gluhwein so the recipe can be cut in half, which is what I do at home. With the minor adjustments I made to her recipe (already included below), this is EXACTLY what we remember drinking in Innsbruck. The type of red wine you use makes a big difference in taste. Choose a fruitier wine for smooth drinkability, sometimes too smooth, but it is by far the wine of choice when served at a party. We typically use an Old Vine Zinfandel. A dry red wine changes the flavor quite a bit, slows down the consumption, but is less popular for people trying it for the first time.
Ingredients (Cut in half for two - four people)
3 quarts water
6 tea bags (black tea)
1 lemon, peeled and cut into wedges
2 oranges, peeled, thinly sliced
1 cup sugar
2 bottles red wine (choose a fruity one like Red Zinfandel, Merlot, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir)
1 pint dark, spiced rum
3 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1. Bring the water to a boil in a large nonreactive pot. Add tea bags. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Steep tea for 5 minutes.
2. Remove tea bags. Add lemon, oranges, sugar, wine, rum, cinnamon, and cloves. Gently reheat heat for about 10 minutes. Keep it covered while heating it to avoid cooking off all the alcohol. Remove cloves, cinnamon sticks, and fruit. Serve warm.