Four alcoholic drinks, three couples, two choice pieces of gossip and a dash of Bublé – those are among the key ingredients for the perfect dinner party.
For a winning evening, add two singletons, chat about the latest films, and a menu featuring smoked salmon and steak, according to a survey of 2,000 UK adults.
Guests should flatter their hosts with five compliments, while 40 per cent said that requests for second helpings was the ultimate sign of success.
Jane Rylands, a spokeswoman for Range Cookers by Stoves, who conducted the research, said: “The findings suggest the key to a well-received dinner party is to keep it simple and focus on easy to eat dishes that are full of flavour over trying to impress with expensive or over-elaborate servings.
“The menu should be nicely balanced – appetising without being tricky to prepare or too fussy to eat and clearly thinking about the atmosphere you create and the dynamics of who you’re inviting are worth putting thought into.
“It’s natural for anyone hosting to feel a little exposed or at risk of being judged but there are steps that can be taken to give the best chances of success. Putting in the preparation time, having confidence in your oven and plenty of space to prepare will always put a host at ease.”
Canadian crooner Michael Bublé was number one choice for background music followed by Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Emilie Sandé, while over a quarter said they preferred no music at all.
Guests are expected to spend about £7 on a bottle of wine, while they shouldn’t consume any more than four glasses of wine or any other alcoholic beverage.
Travel tales are considered the best conversation topic, while discussions about current affairs, TV shows or movies were also considered a safe bet.
NO SEX: One of the off-limit talking points.
The number one off-limit topic was sex, followed by politics, money and relationships.
Four in 10 people named smoked salmon as their favoured starter, ahead of bruschetta and the old faithful prawn cocktail.
Steak was the number one main, followed by beef bourguignon, beef wellington and lamb shank.
Cheesecake was named most popular pudding, pipping Pavlova and profiteroles.
Four in 10 said board games should remain in the cupboard, although a quarter were in favour of perennial favourites, charades and Trivial Pursuit.
According to the poll, having confidence in the oven, having enough space in the kitchen and having a well-considered guest list are all advantages in hosting a top notch dinner party.
Jane added: “Hosting a dinner party comes with a little bit of pressure but there are lots of ways to make it a little easier.
“Reliable kitchen equipment helps massively – the last thing you want is an undercooked pork belly or dried out crème Brule.
“Having games on standby is a worthwhile move, but guests shouldn’t be forced into playing them. The host should let the evening take shape naturally without being too imposing.”
Stoves commissioned the research to celebrate its British-made collection of range cookers, perfect for dinner party hosts and dedicated home cooks and available in sizes to suit every type of kitchen.
THE PERFECT DINNER PARTY
STARTER: Smoked salmon
DRINKS – 4 alcoholic drinks for guests
MUSIC: Michael Buble, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Emile Sande, Paolo Nutini
GOOD CONVERSATION TOPICS: Travel, films, news
BAD CONVERSATION TOPICS: Sex, politics, money
FINISH EATING: 9PM
BEST GAMES: Trivial pursuit, charades
OTHER REQUIREMENTS – Compliment the host 5 times over the night
END NIGHT: 11.30P