I think you’ve been following me long enough to know how much I LOVE setting my table for the holidays or a special occasion. It’s the creative side of my personality that sometimes gets me into trouble with the logistics of how I’m going to pull off an original concept for the table each time I entertain guests.
Not to say that this keeps me up at night or anything…. but wait. It actually does keep my eyes wide open in the darkness because I have visions of tablescapes swirling around inside my crazy brain. Creating a unique look for your table doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, I find my inspiration in some of the tablescapes I have done in that past.
I knew that this year, when hosting Rosh Hashanah for the family, it was going to be bittersweet. Due to restrictions with the pandemic, it was decided that we keep the guest list small. What did that mean? I couldn’t celebrate with my usual cast and crew of almost 22 family members. This was so hard for me but better be safe than sorry.
Besides all the cooking that was done prior to the celebration, there was also a need to get the perfect vessels to create this years table theme. I wasn’t all that keen on running to a bunch of stores to find what I was looking for so I donned my mask and ran over to my favourite place – HOMESENSE CANADA.
Can I tell you something? I GOT VERY LUCKY. I was so happy to see the store shelves restocked with all their usual beautiful merchandise. I grabbed five wooden boards and off I went to the next stop to buy the fruit and flowers I needed to complete the look.
My goal was to have one board per couple at the table. This way, it was as COIVID friendly as I could get. Once you start passing around charcuterie style boards to even two people, the chances getting “COODIES” rises to 95%.
I arranged each board with the exact same amount of goodies so that my guests could enjoy a snack before, during and after dinner. If I do say so myself, this is a pretty brilliant concept which I can’t really take total credit for because charcuterie style eating has been around since ….like….what? The 1700’s??
Holding onto the tradition of dipping apples and honey for a “SWEET YEAR”, I served that course with cleanliness in mind as well. Each guest had a place setting with a small serving spoon, dollop of honey and a slice of apple. This was my idea so that everyone felt comfortable with their own apple and dipping station. SMART, right?
The next thing I added were pretty flowers to the boards as well as in the small vases that lined the table. And then there’s always ambiance lighting. Nothing quite like the glow of a candle to enhance the look and atmosphere at the table. I placed simple white pillar candles interspersed with the charcuterie boards down the centre of the table.
Here’s a little confession that I’m going to share with you. I’m really not into carnations AT ALL. In fact, and I know this sounds a little snobby but I feel that they are a “low end” flower. It’s like, “oh, you didn’t want to splurge on the real McCoy so you went with the bargain foliage”?
Let me tell you something. Carnations can be made to look beautiful and they are so cost effective no one will ever judge you for putting them on your table. Here’s how I justify this flower option. Buy your carnations in ombré colours. I did white, blush and coral. Mixed them together and boom, there you have it. Stunners. They also last for weeks so you can enjoy them after the party is over.
Another thing I did was set my table with no tablecloth. Just a sheer grey runner down the centre. OMG. No tablecloth!! What would Martha say? I dunno, but I do it all the time and you know what? It’s nice to see the rich wood of the table and organic look of the place settings. What I did opt for is REAL LINEN NAPKINS. They are a huge pain in the tush to wash and iron but honestly, worth the trouble. I even served a red sauce based dish and you can imagine what that meant when I went to launder these. LOTS OF STAIN REMOVAL SPRAY.
I bet you wanna know what was on these boards so let me deconstruct the ingredients fo you.
- APPLES (of course) – my tip is to buy an unusual flavour of apple. I chose a sweet gala.
- PLUMS – Just because I liked the look of these with the apples.
- GRAPES – Very necessary. I like mixing different colours and flavours here too. I went with a cotton candy and a green seedless.
- Fresh figs – My daughter-in-law requested to be seated near the board with the most figs. I told her sure, just sit wherever you want, every board is exactly the same!
- Walnut halves – you can throw on any nut – or if there is an allergy just leave them off the board or better yet, do a special board for the person with the allergy.
- Fresh blackberries – I just love these. They sit so nicely on the board and don’t roll around like blueberries.