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The Blue Pomegranate – Travel broadens the dining experience

By Melissa Wagoner

For Carly Blue there is nothing quite like experiencing a culture through its food, whether that’s olive oil-soaked hummus in Dubai, chili lime mangoes in Puerto Vallarta or an apple strudel in Salzburg. And now, with the creation of her home catering company, The Blue Pomegranate, she gets to share that feeling with others.

“Not many people get to travel and experience the beauty of different flavors,” Blue said, acknowledging that never has that statement been truer than in 2020 when, newly laid off from her job at Gather in Silverton, she decided to take up cooking and baking.

Carly Blue, owner of The Blue Pomegranate, putting the finishing touches on one of her  dining experiences.
Carly Blue, owner of The Blue Pomegranate, putting the finishing touches on one of her dining experiences.

“I saw it as a gift,” she admitted. “And I thought, I need to develop a skill. So, I taught myself recipes.”

A novice, Blue began watching cooking tutorials on YouTube and reading cookbooks, then in May 2021 she launched her business as a conglomeration of her new talents as a chef along with her skills as a hostess extraordinaire – a talent she inherited from her mother.

“I don’t remember a meal without music and candles,” she said. Blue recalls the surprise and dismay she felt upon discovering that other families did not have similar traditions. 

“Even in college, I was so poor, but I would still scrounge for centerpieces. I love making something beautiful.”

Using the foods, music and decor of places like Italy, Turkey, Morocco or France, Blue strives to create dinner parties that give guests the illusion of having traveled without ever having to leave their home. 

“It’s a sensory experience,” she said, “taste, smell, sight and sound.”

Then, best of all, she whisks everything away when the party’s over.

“I pick everything up before I leave because the worst part of a dinner party is when everybody leaves and you have a messy kitchen,” Blue said. “I want you to be a guest at your own dinner party.”

The ultimate goal of each dinner party – beyond the food, the drinks or anything else – is for guests to become fully immersed in each other, talking, laughing and forgetting about everything else.

“[T]hat’s my favorite part – watching them catch up and reminisce,” Blue said. “The people are my favorite part.”

Blue Pomegranate tips

Let go of the need for perfection – “It makes people feel more comfortable.”

Put guests to work – “Have someone fill the water glasses or leave some-thing to be chopped.”

Curate a playlist – “I like instrumental music where you can still talk.

Light candles – “I hate overhead lighting.”


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