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After the succes of the first session of the course “Table Etiquette and the Art of Hospitality” I want to present the main arguments of the lesson.

Giving one’s best of oneself is something which women always do particularly well. We love to be elegant and to give a good impression to others, displaying our abilities and sharing with those who know how to appreciate them.
The table is one environment which we use to show ourselves, a mirror which reflects our knowledge and the level of attention of detail we apply. Contrary to the myth of women as simply “housewives”, whose place is in the kitchen preparing the food: table preparation, the ability to be a great host and create conviviality is a real “art”, full of nuances, of skills, of application and of knowledge, which often people simply do not think about.
The search for perfection flows from having a table which is set with style, from the choice of the menu and the preparation of the dishes, as well as from the ability to make both hosts and their guests feel at ease.

If it is true that inviting someone to a meal signifies dedicating oneself to their happiness so that they really “feel at home”, then this implies preparing the table with the greatest possible care, matching it to the type of event and creating the right atmosphere.
The choice of a menu and having enough food are not sufficient to guarantee the success of a meal; decisive components also includes having the table-setting appropriate to the menu and the occasion, the right choice of the plates, cutlery and glassware, who and how to invite your guests, the seating of the guests, the structure of the menu and the correct matching of wines and foods.

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Simplicity is the key expression of elegance.
Above all one’s table should be comfortable for the guests, therefore its size should reflect the numbers present. As a general rule, the distance between the centre of one guest’s plate to that of the next should be approximately 70 cm.
The preliminary preparation requires an under-cloth of soft material so as to mute the noise of crockery and glassware; the choice of a table-cloth itself should be a single tone of either cotton or linen material, a combination of elegance and functionality which highlights the decorations and crockery which you are going to use. The “drop” of the tablecloth (over the edges) should be around 30 cm so as to facilitate people seating themselves and so that the material does not hinder the movement of the guests. To give a touch of originality it is possible to use a variety of chairs, unless the occasion requires a more structured level of formality.

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Areas where there can be real difference which can express one’s creativity are the decorations and centre-pieces; that said, there are some small details of which one should be aware: the height should be such that the guests can see each other across the table; the size should be appropriate for the dimensions of the table itself and be harmonised both with the overall style and colours being used. One can use flowers, including those wild-flowers or particular seasonal flowers, aromatic herbs, fruit or alternatively candelabra and candles.

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Another essential element is the table napkins which should always be of cloth and never paper, unless of course we are talking of an informal dinner or a picnic. The colours can be varied and contrasting with the table cloth but desirably of the same type of material. They should be placed on the left side of the setting or on top of the top plate, never under the cutlery, and it is recommended that they be folded either into rectangles or triangles.

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The number and placement of plates, cutlery and glasses varies according to the formality of the occasion: porcelain and silver service for special occasions, contrasts and mixes of materials when sharing with friends.

 Continue to follow us Рsoon we will also publish for you:

Informal Place Settings

Formal Place Settings

How to eat “difficult” dishes

Manners at the table

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Alessandra Carbonari

For you – the video of the lesson “How to Set the Table”.

Table Etiquette: table setting