My husband and I were in Paris recently for a day and a half, and we tried to see, do and eat as many things as we could. The trip was a success, in part because everything is so much easier without three children in tow. E. Dehillerin, Paris' famed cooking store, was on my list. It was one of my favorite stops on our short trip, and my husband teased me, snapping a picture of me snapping a picture of the store. I promised not to spend too much, and I didn't. But I came back with a few reminders of our trip.
A beautiful wooden tray or platter is an entertaining staple. You can use one to serve appetizers, display glasses alongside a pitcher of cool iced tea, or serve breakfast in bed! I love the look of walnut, too — even more so when it's rimmed in a bright, neon color, like these WUD trays and platters by David Rasmussen.
I absolutely love the smooth chicness of anything matte black, particularly in the kitchen. With so much that's already bright and shiny in that room — stainless steel appliances! Shimmering tile! Glossy ceramic plates! — I find matte textures a welcome diversion. They're understated yet still glamorous. Here are a few matte black kitchen and dining things I've had my eye on lately, from a simple faceted vase to a mind-blowing Bertazzoni range. (Guess which one I will not be purchasing anytime soon.)
These colorful tapas bowls are really making me want to throw a tapas party, or at least put together a few small appetizer servings. I love the design and the clear glaze. How great would they look spread out on a table?
You may not think you know Normann Copenhagen, but chances are you'd recognize a few of their classic pieces. (Remember this peeler? Or this tea egg? Or these fun beater whisks?) Fans of modern design also know that you can find Normann Copenhagen pieces at stores like Horne, Huset, and The Modern Shop, but the brand has its own online webshop as well where you can peruse and purchase the full beautiful line.
A good serving tray is an essential piece for any host/hostess. Besides saving you the trouble of making multiple trips to and from the kitchen, serving trays are also a nice decor element when set up on a sideboard or coffee table to corral appetizers, drinks, or dishes. Here are five handled versions we really like:
I love entertaining, whether it's a small group on the porch, a crowd for Frogmore stew in the kitchen, or an all out bash with 150 of our closest friends. (That last one only happens once a year.) All of our parties have one thing in common: my favorite blue pottery chip-and-dip dish. Nothing says "party" at our place like pulling that dish out of the cabinet. Along with most of my fellow southerners, I believe every gathering needs food for dipping! That dish has seen a lot of action.
When I started planning the polenta supper I shared with you earlier this week, I immediately knew I wanted a huge board for serving. My husband and I considered making one ourselves from a sanded piece of lumber, but we didn't have the time or space to work on it. So I turned to Elizabeth Bryant and Andrew Gray of Gray Works Design, whose boards I've long admired. The board they loaned me for this party was the most beautifully crafted, custom-milled slab of silver maple. It was a far cry from the rougher sort of board we would have made; this one had so much more beauty and character.
It made me think of the role that one beautiful, handcrafted piece can play in a party or in the home; real craftsmanship is always a joy to encounter. To get more of Gray Works' perspective on this, I chatted with Elizabeth a little bit about their approach to sustainability, inspiration, and the tension between the wild and the domestic.