Selections Christmas 2006 for the festive dinner table

“Selections Christmas 2006” for the festive dinner table

A dark green tablecloth, red placemats and napkins, silver-plated candlesticks, clear crystal wine goblets for wine, red for water, and crockery with a Christmas theme.

The Christmas Season is almost upon us. Already bazaars are being held and shop windows being decorated. An exhibition dedicated to “Art de la Table” is being organized for this weekend by the mother-and-daughter decorating team of Eleni Aroni and Athina Aroni-Kanta of the design firm Kleomenous 9 SA, at the Athens Plaza Hotel in Syntagma Square, in downtown Athens.

“Selections Christmas 2006” includes crystal ware, china, silver, objets d’art, jewelry, antiques, furniture, carpets and other decorative pieces. Visitors to the exhibition, held in conjunction with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association, are invited to make a contribution to the association’s fund. A lottery will also be held for the same purpose.

Semeli and GAEA will be providing wine and appetizers. Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Christmas Art de la Table > Set a trendy table

Beautiful linens and festive items can spice up your holiday settings

Dazzle your guests this Christmas Season with a festive table you’ve created without spending mucho dinero. Get a jump start by scouting stores this weekend for tableware, linens and decorative items.

Remember that the Christmas Holidays are all about your senses, and being affected and moved by your surroundings. A few simple details added to your space, candlelight, tableware, festive accessories and luxurious linens, all create an instant holiday makeover by making an ordinary room extraordinary.

Thanks to specialised retailers, you can find appealing, inexpensive dishes, glasses, flatware and linens to dress your table for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or a special brunch. The look will be rich to the eye, but not disastrous to your budget, which will probably be stretched to the limit by gift purchases.

If you’re at a loss on how to start, these are the trends in today’s tabletop décor.

Always use candles, votives, pillars, tapers, when entertaining to establish a warm and inviting atmosphere. Do not use scented candles on the dinner table, though, because the scent could interfere with food aromas.

Combine faux florals, sparkling ornaments and fresh flowers to create a centerpiece that can be used for various gatherings, simply replace fresh flowers to change the look.

Focus on decorating the spaces guests see first and where they gather most, such as the foyer and living room.

To create a festive mood, set a welcoming table in the foyer with flutes filled with champagne and sparkling juice, interspersed with simple white votives.

Instead of using a traditional tablecloth, let the natural beauty of your wood or glass table shine through and use a runner or two for a layered look.

Art de la Table > Puttin’ on the glitz

Posted On November 10, 2006

Filed under Art de la Table

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The holidays are just around the corner and families will be getting together in celebration.

Whether it is your first attempt at hosting an event or your 20th, there always will be moments of tension. Proper hostess etiquette taught during the Gilded Age (1865 to 1901) and into the mid-1960s, can make the experience of entertaining much easier and more enjoyable. While some of the old rules or customs of that time period have changed, many of the rules of polite society still remain.

My family usually entertains adults in an adult setting so formal traditions are continued easily. However, I have fond memories of Christmas celebrations where the children sat at the adult table and used the good china, silver and glassware.

Preparing yourself and your table for the occasion can be a fun and rewarding experience. The holidays are a time when family and friends can come together and create or renew traditions for the celebration.

Your china cabinet might hold new or old family dinnerware, but there is a story behind each of your pieces, where, when and who made it, and how it is supposed to be used. Every item brought out of the cabinet is cleaned and polished before it gets put on display.

We have great fun coming across pieces of china, glassware or silverware that we may have picked up or inherited, and have no clue who bought it and what it was used for.

In today’s society, many individuals are familiar with the traditional five-piece place setting for silverware and china, but there are dozens of other pieces that can be added to complete your set. What food you regularly serve will help determine which additional pieces you might need.

When hosting a dinner party without entertainment, you might choose to serve the meal in courses. This gives the dinner a more elaborate atmosphere and helps with the timing of the evening. Each course should be presented about 20 minutes after the previous course.

This creates a more relaxed pace and environment for the guests with less on the table when the guest sits down. A table too crowded can be intimidating and leads to accidents.

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Christmas in the Metropolis of the World > Copenhagen

Royal Copenhagen’s Christmas tables will open on November 24th 2006 for the 43rd time.

This year the way the tables are laid has been inspired by six Danes, each with special connections to one of the world’s great capitals.

Enjoy a charming Christmas in Paris with Ann Wiberg (creator and designer of Trash Couture).

Sway to the rhythm of a Christmas samba in Rio interpreted by Master Fatman (DJ, dancer, author).

Shelter from the bitter cold in Moscow with Samuel Rachlin (author and journalist).

Breathe in the spirit of Christmas in fashionable Milan with Uffe Buchard (trend spotter and fashion expert).

Rest your eyes in a minimalist Japanese festival inspired by Jens Rahbek (chef and founder of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi).

Or see Copenhagen at its most beautiful interpreted by Dorthe Mandrup (architect).

The Christmas tables can be experienced in Royal Copenhagen’s new flagship store at Amagertorv on Strøget, Copenhagen’s famous pedestrian street, from November 24th 2006 until the end of December.

For further information > Royal Copenhagen, telephone: +45 3814 9176, or visit > www.royalcopenhagen.com

Christmas > Art de la Table

Posted On October 25, 2006

Filed under Art de la Table

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How to set a dazzling table >
 
The goal is to create a specific ambiance from all the items that are placed on the table. The theme can be centered around the food to be served – for example, Mexican or Indian – in which case you would choose all sorts of objects that are in keeping with that motif.

For an Asian meal, chopsticks, bamboo place mats, bamboo sprouts, etc. would create a lovely effect. But the theme could also be dictated by the date of the meal: Christmas, Easter, New Year, Halloween… all occasions that give you an excuse to create a splendid table.

Consider using tablecloths, place mats, serviettes and napkin rings not only for their functional purpose, but also for their important decorative role: with their varied shapes and colours they contribute to the beauty of your table.

Sparkling silverware and glassware are also elements that add to the table’s appearance. Be sure to inspect each piece carefully, and wipe the cutlery with vinegar to make it shine.

Flowers are also an important part of making your table pretty. They provide a simple way of decorating. You can, for example, place a small bouquet on the plate of each guest as a sign of welcome. The overall effect should be one of harmony with the other elements of the table, particularly by tying into one colour scheme.

Art de la Table > The Christmas Table > Ideas, tips and suggestions

Posted On October 25, 2006

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Flowers on the table

There’s nothing like flowers to brighten a table. The flowers can be natural or dried, depending on the season or your budget. Choose seasonal flowers if you can, because they will give a note of authenticity to your table.

Allow yourself to be guided by the colors in your tablecloth or dishes. You can compose a graduated palette based on the dominant tone or take a risk with colours that contrast with the principal color. If your table is already very colourful, opt for a bouquet in a single tone that will add a sophisticated touch to your decor. Don’t forget to add greenery to enhance the flowers. Avoid flowers with a very strong perfume. You may also want to add some fresh herbs that complement your menu (thyme, rosemary, bay or tarragon).

Usually the bouquet is placed in the middle of the table, where it can be seen from every angle. You can use any kind of vase, but it should not be so high that it will block your guests’ view. The maximum height of the bouquet should be 30 cm. The vase should not upstage the floral arrangement, but rather should complement it.

Candles

Candles on the table should be placed where they are not in the way and do not block guests’ view of one another.

Is the base of your candle too wide for the candlestick? Soak the base in very hot water before pushing it into the candlestick.

Do your candles look dull? Rub them with an old sock or nylon stocking to shine them up.

Do you have a problem with dripping candles? Try this old trick: pour salt in the hollow around the wick. The wax will mix with the salt and form a compact mass. You can also use a candlestick flange (a glass ring that holds in the wax).

Don’t store candles in the refrigerator. In fact, the cold may make them crack. Instead, store them flat in a box in a cool, dry place away from any light that could discolour them.

The indispensable table pad

Before setting your table, whether it is round, oval, square or rectangular, you should cover it with a table pad. This is a thick fabric cloth that you can make yourself or purchase. The padding helps keep your tablecloth on the table and protects your table against damage (hot plates, spilled wine, burns, etc.), adds body to your tablecloth and keeps down the clatter of dishes.

When you purchase a table pad, choose the appropriate length and width. There should be a 3 cm drop on each side. Buy a larger one if you plan to add leaves to your table.

How to choose a tablecloth

You don’t have to use a round tablecloth on a round table, or an oval tablecloth on an oval table. Instead, try a square tablecloth on a round table and a rectangular tablecloth on an oval table. They will fall and maintain their shape better. If this is what you decide to do, always check to make sure that the corners of the tablecloth are properly aligned with the table legs.

If you decide to layer two tablecloths, the bottom one should hang as low as possible, while the top one should cover mainly the tabletop with a 30-centimeter drop, approximately.

On a round table, you can use a second round or square tablecloth; on a square table you can place a square cloth diagonally over the first.

A tablecloth can never be too long or too wide. In general, plan to have a drop of between 25 and 35 cm (10 to 15 inches) on each side of the table. A natural fibre tablecloth will shrink from 8 to 10% the first time it is washed.

Setting the table

Place the knife to the right of the plate, with its blade pointing to the plate.

The fork is placed on the left, with the tip of the tines resting on the tablecloth (French style) or pointing up (English style). Place a knife-rest in front of the knife, but do not put the knife on it since it is clean.

If you are serving fish, place the fish utensils on either side of the other cutlery. If you are serving soup, the soup spoon goes to the right of the knife. Dessert and cheese cutlery is brought to the table when serving the dessert or cheese. You may also set it out in advance, between the glasses and the plate.

How to care for tablecloths

100% cotton and 100% linen tablecloths are easier to care for than synthetics which eventually yellow (if white) or grey.

Tablecloths are machine washable. When washing, remember to consider the fabric content and colour. Natural fibre tablecloths can tolerate a little bleach and hotter water than the others. Coloured tablecloths should be washed in cold water with detergent.
Hard-to-remove stains can be rubbed with a bit of detergent before washing.

It is easier to iron your tablecloth if it is still damp, or if it is dry, spray while you iron.

Store your ironed and folded tablecloths (right side folded in) on shelves, in a drawe or on hangers.

Cake servers

There are two types of cake servers. One has rounded sides and is used to serve already-cut pieces of cake. The other has a serrated side and is used to cut slices of cake or pie. Usually, this type of dessert is brought to the table uncut.

Foie gras knife

This type of knife, used for cutting foie gras, was recently invented in France by a major manufacturer. It is useful for serving foie gras because it has a long narrow blade. After dipping the very fine blade into hot water, it is immediately used to cut a perfect slice of foie gras. Pour the hot water into a carafe or tall pitcher.
 
Salad preparation

Salad greens should be torn into small pieces with your fingers and placed in a salad bowl that already contains the vinaigrette. Toss the salad just before serving. For an informal family meal, the salad can be tossed at the table. When eating salad, never cut it with your knife. Just use your fork, which is why the salad greens should be small and easy to eat.

Preparing a bed tray

Taking your time the day after a big party, stretching out luxuriously under the blankets, getting up late: that’s pure indulgence. To add to the enjoyment, why not eat breakfast in bed?

The ideal way to serve breakfast in bed is on bed trays with legs (foldable or fixed) for greater stability. If bed trays are not available, an ordinary tray will do. For two people, two separate trays are preferable.

Start by placing a lovely cloth napkin on the tray. Next, pour some cereal into a bowl or prepare a breakfast plate for toast or croissants that you will cover with a towel to keep warm. Next prepare a cup and saucer (for tea or coffee), a small spoon, an individual butter dish, a knife for spreading, a creamer and sugar bowl, and tiny cups for jam. An insulated teapot or coffeepot will keep your tea or coffee piping hot. To complete your tray: some fruit, a seasonal flower and the daily newspaper!