A Sugar Filled Black Tie Affair

A few weekends ago, Matt and I had the distinct pleasure of attending a party at our friend, Caitlin Tormey‘s home. For 28 years, this lovely family has opened up their Staten Island home to friends and family to enjoy homemade desserts and sip champagne at a black tie affair.

The Tormey Family party is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Traditionally held around the New Year, Caitlin’s mom, Dr. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, takes a full week of from her “day job” (chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute) to apply her background in chemistry to the kitchen. For 7 days she prepares 28 different desserts; and every year the desserts are different. She then opens up her home to over 100 friends, neighbors and family members. I consider myself lucky to have been counted among these people.

We began out evening by taking the ferry over to Staten Island; something we had never done before. The views of the New York City skyline were breathtaking and definitely a sight worth seeing. After a quick ride, we found ourselves in the suburbs (or at least it felt suburban compared to Manhattan). The Tormey home sits of the edge of a hill with incredible views of the river, the Verrazano bridge, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Thankfully it wasn’t too chilly, so we were able to enjoy the views from the porch in the back of the house.

After taking in the beautiful Christmas decorations and drinking some champagne, Caitlin invited me into the dinning room for a “press only” viewing of the desserts. (I knew having a blog would get me a press pass at some point – now, if only I could use it to get on the field during a Patriots game!) When I walked in the room; I was immediately overtaken by the smell of sugar. The 28 cakes that sat before me were really amazing. How Jill managed to make 28 different desserts in one week in beyond me. How she managed to keep everything fresh and time the whole production is unbelievable. I can see myself trying this and ending up with melting cakes, stale cookies and a giant mess in our kitchen!

Once the doors to the dining room were opened to the “public” everyone proceeded to walk around the table simply looking. Then, once everyone had a chance to view the 28 choices, we went back through and picked which ones we wanted to try. I happily added 5 difference slices to my plate: peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate chunk candy cane cheesecake, eggnog torte, white mocha torte, peanut butter honeycomb cake. Matt decided to try all of the chocolate options which I believe resulted in 6 different slices. In the end, we were sick to our stomachs from all of the richness, but very happy!

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Matt and I have talked about throwing an annual holiday party; something that our friends and family can look forward to attending year after year. Unfortunately we haven’t settled on what holiday we should be celebrating. Matt wants to celebrate something that has to do with Notre Dame, while I would like to celebrate an obscure holiday like, March 13th which is National Ear Muff day.

Does anyone have any suggestions for creative and fun parties?