Tips for an Elegant, Everyday Table Setting

Elegant Everyday Table Setting | Freckled Italian

I'm back today with the last of our La Crema Farm-to-Table at Home series! I hope you've enjoyed it these past few months. I know I won't be forgetting our incredible trip to California any time soon.

We stayed at an amazing loft in downtown Healdsburg, and while we did go out quite a bit, we also did a ton of cooking--and we started with a gorgeous but simple one-pot chicken and mushroom risotto that I'm still thinking about to this day. We set a beautiful table that took no time at all and enjoyed such a great meal together. Today I'll be sharing some tips with you for setting an elegant table perfect for everyday life and dining.

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto | Freckled Italian

So without further ado, here are some tips for setting an elegant table everyday--no matter the occasion (or not!):

  • Go for white dishes, but add texture.
  • Layer plates and bowls on top of each other at each setting to add depth and contrast. (Feel free to add color or patterns if that's more your style!)
  • Include some gold accents, like a charger. 
  • Don't be afraid to mix metals--gold flatware is super pretty but sometimes can be hard to find. Feel free to combine your everyday silverware with gold chargers and details, like the fun stemless wine glasses we used all week.
  • Don't forget the flowers! We love silk ones because they last forever and you can do so much with them. We also incorporated some fresh herb centerpieces that work extra hard as decoration on the table and flavor in the kitchen.
  • Have fun with it--experiment with your own personal style and remember that you don't need a special occasion to set a beautiful table. Weeknights with family and/or friends are special enough.

And no meal (or table) is complete without a few glasses of La Crema wines! We paired our risotto with both red and white--the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a favorite, but you also can't beat the richness of their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The Monterey Chardonnay is another classic--you might as well include all three, just to be safe! So many dishes pair well with either red or white, so it's always fun to do a little of both.

For more information on this elegant weeknight dinner, make sure to visit all of our Farm-to-Table at Home posts in this series:

Farm-to-Table at Home: Weeknight Dinners

Elegant Everyday Table Setting and Decor

Easy Herb Centerpieces

One Pot Risotto

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.


Recipe: Pomegranate and Chevre Salad

One of my all time favorite salads is a combination more than a specific recipe: greens, goat cheese, some kind of tart berry or fruit on top, and an easy homemade vinaigrette. For our Farm-to-Table Harvest Dinner we used a leaf lettuce and spinach mix with pomegranates, which are perfect for autumn!

Ingredients: 

  • 8 ounces greens--use leaf lettuce for a seasonal option in the September
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup to a full cup of fresh pomegranate seeds
  • Croutons (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Wash and dry the lettuce. Add to a large serving bowl.
  2. Top the salad with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. Add croutons if desired.
  3. Serve with the vinaigrette of your choice--we recommend a balsamic vinaigrette.

This salad is really delicious with La Crema's Monterey Pinot Noir, which is super easy to find in stores. We had so much fun pairing all of our dishes with their wines--it was truly a delicious culinary experience. Make sure to check out the rest of our posts to get the rest of our recipes, decor, and wine pairings.

Photos by Courtney O'Dell by Sweet C's Designs.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.

Recipe: Chocolate Mousse Shooters

When I was a kid, chocolate mousse seemed like the most grown-up dessert in the world. My mom used to make it for dinner parties and she'd pipe it into chilled martini glasses and I always felt like a really fancy lady, eating dessert out of a cocktail glass with a tiny silver spoon.

Courtney of Sweet C's Designs and I teamed up to throw a Farm-to-Table Harvest Dinner and while we were planning the menu (which Minted was nice enough to supply for us) I knew we had to make chocolate mousse for dessert. This time we served them in little shooter glasses that reminded us of stemless wine glasses and fit in so well with our vineyard/farm-to-table harvest theme.

We paired them with La Crema's Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, because who doesn't love chocolate and wine together?

Ingredients: 

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • pinch of salt
  • Garnish: more heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

  1. Slowly heat 3/4 cup of the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. In a metal bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Once combined well, slowly stream the hot cream into the bowl.
  3. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the vanilla and continue to stir.
  4. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler and and whisk the the custard mixture into it until smooth. Allow to cool.
  5. Beat the remaining cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold the whipped cream into the chocolate custard mixture to lighten.
  6. Spoon the mix into serving glasses and chill for six hours or more. Let stand for about 20 minutes before serving. Top with more whipped cream if desired.
La Crema Farm to Table at Home | Fall Harvest Dinner

Photos by Courtney O'Dell of Sweet C's Designs for La Crema Farm to Table at Home.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.

Mastering the Art of the Perfect Cheese Platter

Tips for Making the Perfect Cheese Platter | Freckled Italian

As far as I'm concerned, no party is complete without a big cheese platter! We paired ours with some great La Crema wines and served it at our California brunch party. I thought I'd share some tips for making the perfect cheese plate, no matter what other food you're serving!

  • Create a nice variety of cheeses--we served an aged cheddar, cave-aged gouda, and some delicious manchego, which is one of my favorites because it's made with sheep's milk and has less lactose than other cheeses. These all paired really nicely with La Crema's Chardonnay, but wine and cheese tasting should be fun and adventurous, so be sure to experiment a little!
  • Make sure to include a softer, creamier cheese as well. Brie is always a great choice, but for this particular menu we went with a soft chΓ¨vre that we mixed with some local honey and then served alongside some really tasty and unusual gluten-free beet scones.
  • The more crackers, the better! Serve at least two different kinds, and include at least one gluten-free option if one or more of your guests have a gluten intolerance. Everyone should be able to enjoy a cheese platter if they want to!
  • Don't forget the fruit! Berries or grapes would be great, but when we went to the market the figs looked incredible so we went with those instead.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.

Photo credit: Courtney O'Dell of Sweet C's Designs.

Decorating for an Outdoor Brunch Party

When Courtney and I were planning this big project that we are now calling "Farm to Table at Home," we knew we wanted the aesthetic to be casually chic, or effortlessly elegant--basically something with alliteration that also involved lots of white dishes, wooden accents, and gold.

  • A white tablecloth makes a big difference.
  • Gold accents are an easy way to add some glamour to an otherwise simple tablescape.
  • Silk flowers are easier to transport and obviously last a lot longer than fresh ones! They make lovely centerpieces simply placed on the table in front of people's dishes.
  • A few pops of color like red and/or turquoise go a long way on a mostly-white table--we got some great striped menus from Minted that tied everything together really well.
  • Just because you're outside doesn't mean you can't incorporate more complex decorations! Some battery-powered marquee lights add a really fun, vintage, and festive vibe.
Brunch Party Decor | Freckled Italian

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.

Photo credit: Courtney O'Dell of Sweet C's Designs