‘Tis the season to be jolly and with the festivities comes the parties. While the star of any celebration is usually the food, what the food is served in should not be ignored either. On the aesthetics level, your dinnerware can be part of the decoration of the day, helping to set the right mood and tone for your party. On the practical side, having the right plate, bowl, cup or cutlery makes it easier to serve the food and drinks. They may merely be co-stars, but the right tableware can help to make the main event a hit.
So, here are five great tips to spice up the atmosphere and make your food look even better at the party!
1. Set the Mood
Is it going to be a formal dinner, an informal sit-down meal or a casual buffet? The formal setting is usually for a party of no more than 12 and requires several items: napkin (with napkin holder), salad fork, dinner fork, dessert fork, bread and butter plate with butter knife, service plate, dinner knife, teaspoon, soup spoon, cocktail fork, water glass, red wine glass, white wine glass, teacup with saucer.
If fish is being served, a fish knife replaces the dinner knife. Then, depending on the menu, different dinnerware is placed on the service plate: salad plate, appetiser plate with cocktail fork, soup bowl, dinner plate, dessert plate. Everything is arranged around the service plate with the napkin on top. The salad and main course forks are to the left of the plate; the salad and main course knives, and soup spoon are to its right. Above the salad and main course forks are the bread and butter plate with butter knife. Dessert forks and spoons are placed above the serving plate with the fork facing left and the spoon facing right. To the right above the knives are the trio of water, red wine and white wine glasses placed left to right in a triangle. The cup and saucer with teaspoon can be brought in separately or with dessert.
For a casual dinner, you may dispense with the multiple knives and forks, and the service plate. With a buffet, there isn’t even a need for place settings. All the food is simply put on one table. But the right tableware for the right food items is still required for both.
If you are looking for large bowls to serve pasta, salads or even chips, contemporary lifestyle store, Luxodec, stocks a wide range of home accessories as well as dinnerware and glassware. The LSA Serve Low Bowl (S$136) is mouth-blown and hand-finished by skilled artisans using a 2,000-year old technique.
For snacks like nuts, olives, candies and even fruits for your buffet, the LSA Serve Square Platter (S$142) allows the goodies to be separated yet seen to entice your guests to reach out for more.
2. Don’t Be Too Ambitious
If it is not a luncheon or a dinner that you are hosting, you can go for a less ambitious tea party instead. Pewter specialist, Royal Selangor, has elegant pewter tea and coffee sets, and accessories designed to inspire.
Luxodec’s LSA Jazz Cup & Saucer (S$98 for a set of four 100ml cups or S$154 for a set of 350ml ones) will do nicely for a funky tea soiree. To serve your pastries, get the LSA cakestand and cover (S$280), a handmade glass set that will make a timeless addition to your tea party.
Another option is a cocktail party with drinks and finger foods. American housewares, furniture, and home accessories chain, Crate and Barrel, has an impressive array of glassware just for the occasion. From wine glasses to champagne flutes, martini, margarita, cognac, cordial, and cooler glasses – they have a shape for every type of drink.
3. Get Your Stuff Straight
Once you have decided on the kind of party you want and settled on your menu, you will know what tableware you need.
Royal Selangor has some lovely items that will make great conversation pieces and heirlooms. Pick up a jug or pitcher from their pewter jugs and water pitches series (ranging from S$120 for a milk jug to S$770 for a jug). They also have salt and pepper shakers (S$120 to S$225) that come in sleek designs that defy convention.
Worth adding to your buffet table is its cheeseboard (S$250) edged with the landscape of Tuscany’s slopes, cypress trees and villas. The board itself is made of grey marble that is easy to clean. Match this with pair of pewter and stainless steel salad server (S$195) with the same scene etched on its handle.
An interesting item for your formal dinner is Royal Selangor’s pate set (S$190) which comes with a board and pate knife. The lovely craftsmanship will surely add to the pleasure of the meal.
Crate and Barrel carries several tableware in glass and plain white porcelain that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, making them extremely versatile. The footed dessert bowl (S$3.95) is perfect for desserts or even small servings of nuts and candy.
4. Take Stock
After you have decided what pieces you need, go into your kitchen cabinets and take stock of what you have. You may discover that you only need to supplement your current supply of dinnerware and flatware with a few new pieces instead of acquiring a whole new set.
5. Attention to Details
If you are adding to your current collection, you have a choice: either attempt to match your set now or mix and match. The advantage of matching dinnerware is that if provides a foundation to your dinner table. The problem is hunting down the exact pattern.
If that fails, your alternative is to mix and match. Just because you are throwing together different pieces does not mean there is no coherence. You need to find items that will match your current ones in any one of these ways: colour, style, design, and shape.
Now you know what to do and where to go to add pizzazz to your festive table, you can go ahead and party in style!
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Crate and Barrel