Snacks and literary drinks for your book club

From charcuterie boards to baked goods to cocktails, we've rounded up refreshment ideas that are guaranteed to impress at your next book club meeting.

Rachel Deeley
A plate of cookie brownies on a blue cloth
Image: Flynn Shore/Penguin

In the words of Virginia Woolf, "one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." We are similarly of the opinion that good food is an ideal (if not essential) accompaniment to a great book club meeting, so we've turned to our friends at The Happy Foodie, the home of Penguin's cookery content, for some recipe inspiration.

Whether you're looking to step up your hosting game or bring something homemade to the potluck, these refreshments are simple to make, travel well, and are perfect for grazing and sipping as the bookish conversation flows.

Savory snacks

Charcuterie board

Nothing says "host with the most" quite like an impressive charcuterie board. Colourful and easy to assemble, this version by beloved TV chef Ainsley Harriott is customisable and features some great inventive touches.

Goats cheese and caramelised onion tarts

These vegetarian savoury tarts are an easy yet sophisticated option for canapés. Better still, they only require five ingredients and a few minutes in the air fryer to make.

Ottolenghi burnt aubergine

Who better to turn to for an homemade dip recipe than Ottolenghi? Filled with smoky, fresh, and sweet flavours, this burnt aubergine dip is versatile and pairs perfectly with a plate of raw vegetables or crispy flatbread.

If you want to try making something more ambitious for your book club, there's another Ottolenghi recipe to try, this time with a literary tie-in. This salmon recipe is an homage to the film adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Baby, when Patrick Dempsey's character Jack, references a (then entirely fictional) Ottolenghi salmon dish.

If you want something bite-sized to go with your glass of wine then cut the salmon into bite-size cubes before pan-frying and pop the finished product on a cracker or blini to turn it into a book club-ready nibble.

Sweets and treats

Fitwaffle cookie dough brownies

Can't decide between cookies and brownies? Eloise Head, better known as the Instagram sensation Fitwaffle, has combined both to create one truly indulgent sweet treat.

Mary Berry fruit kebabs

For a simple yet refreshing sweet option, try these strawberry and tropical fruit skewers from Mary Berry, complete with a zesty lemon, mint, and Greek yoghurt dip.

Cocktails and mocktails

Persephone cocktail

Infusing prosecco with homemade rose syrup and taking inspiration from Greek mythology, this pomegranate-topped sparkling cocktail is a drink fit for the gods (and goddesses).

Death in Venice cocktail

As far as literary tie-ins go, this cocktail created by alchemist Tony Conigliaro hits the spot. Not only does it happen to share its name with a 1912 novella by German writer Thomas Mann, this aperitivo is something of a cross between an Italian spritz and Death in the Afternoon, the (far more potent) champagne-and-absinthe cocktail invented by Ernest Hemingway.

For a dose of fun non-alcoholic fizz, look no further than this bright and zesty mocktail. All you need to make it at home is soda water sugar, and a few delicious citrus fruits which will give you that nostalgic sherbet fizz taste.

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