The ice cream social is making a comeback. We’re reinventing the old fashioned get-together by turning it into a sophisticated soiree featuring decadent desserts and sparkling wine.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015
Photo Courtesy of Häagen-Dazs

Invite friends over for a sampling of sweet treats and bottles of bubbly, and turn any ordinary day into a sophisticated celebration. Unlike a dinner party – which can be a big, costly, and stressful endeavor – throwing this kind of party requires little prep work, and allows for a lot of flexibility since you can host your party post-dinner any night of the week, or even on a weekend afternoon. Follow our easy plan for an amazingly low maintenance and budget-friendly entertaining idea.

Plan your fête by choosing three or more flavors of frozen treats to make a "flight," and a luscious wine to pair with each. Purists will love sampling classic ice cream flavors like Vanilla, Strawberry, and Coffee with a selection of white and rosé Champagnes (which must, by law, come from France’s Champagne region to be labeled as such). But there’s no reason to limit yourself to those core flavors. The Häagen-Dazs® brand offers more than 50 perfectly crafted varieties of ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet and bars, so have fun exploring new flavors in addition to old favorites.

Try assembling a caramel collection with Häagen-Dazs Sea Salt Caramel gelato, Dulce de Leche and Caramel Cone ice creams. Match them with Italian Proseccos on the sweeter side, which will be labeled demi-sec or dry. Or, choose light, fruit-forward varieties like sweet Orchard Peach sorbet, bright Limoncello gelato, and tropical Pineapple Coconut ice cream paired with a trio of sweet white and rosé Cavas, Spain’s affordable answer to Champagne. Chocolate-lovers (meaning everyone – who doesn’t crave chocolate?) can choose from a whopping 11 Häagen-Dazs varieties, including Midnight Cookies & Cream, Dark Chocolate Chip gelato, and Rocky Road. Serve them with a flight of chilled pink and red sparkling wines, like a bubbly Moscato rosé from California, or Lambrusco, a fizzy Italian red that’s gained popularity in recent years.

Party prep is a cinch. Simply set out wine glasses on a bar or buffet, plus pretty dessert bowls, spoons, and napkins, and ice buckets. Just before guests arrive, bring the ice creams out of the freezer so they have time to soften, and set out a few bowls filled with warm water and ice cream scoops for serving. Place both the sparkling wines and the desserts in order from lightest-to-heaviest so your guests can sample from left to right. You can even set up a blind taste test so they can guess the varieties of wines and frozen desserts. Encourage everyone to sample through the flights and try different pairings. Your favorite flavor combination might be one you haven’t tried yet.