2020-2021 has seen us all become great home cooks, or at least better. But our hosting skills (and frankly, conversational panache) need a pep talk and some fresh directionality.
When we get out of there and can gather around a table again, we want to make sure that table has read the play. Environmental responsibility and bringing joy to any social occasion will be high on our list of priorities. Here’s our primer on how to raise your next long table at home.
Prepper in the mouth: luminous bubbles
Europe has never felt so far away. But luckily, we have all the ingredients we need here on our soil to incorporate some of its culinary rituals into our present. Start your evening with an aperitif. Different countries (and even regions) have their own opinions on what this sacred libation should be. In France, muscat is a staple in Alsace, while pastis is preferable in the south-east. But if the politics of this palate preparer makes your head spin, sparkling wine is a universally acceptable aperitif. Synonymous with a festive atmosphere, it is an icebreaker for customers who do not know each other and do not impose an immediate “white or red” decision on them. Howard Park Jeté Brut Blanc bubbles are an elegant traditional sparkling method without the price of champagne. This blend of non-vintage Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is made in Western Australia and imparts fine acidity and a creamy palate to stimulate appetite and release residual locking tension. With notes of citrus zest, white flowers and meringue, it goes perfectly with oysters and other savory appetizers.
Towards the future: sustainable tableware
By now we are all aware that the world is warming up and that climatic stressors such as fires and floods are occurring more and more frequently and with greater ferocity. The recent IPCC report reinforced that as a globe we must stop extracting statistics on fossil fuels. Melbourne-based artist and experimental designer Jessie French has already thought about it. She has spent years researching algae and how we can make tableware from carbon-sequestering plants. Its containers for eating and drinking after oil are all handmade and one of a kind. They can be composted, as well as reworked into endless new pieces, making them a talking point in more ways than one.
Playful silhouettes: ceramic vases
When we have been deprived of new views and textures, we are not averse to bringing more playful and sensory experiences to the table. Byron ceramicist Layla Cluer relaxes things with her tabletop-centric practice, softedge. She has abandoned rigid, conventional dish shapes in favor of tactile, curvy containers that you’ll be hard-pressed not to find yourself spontaneously stroking. His signature, the Ewer, is a voluptuous 4.5-liter pitcher designed to do a light filling job during a long Sunday lunch. The pieces resemble something between stone and soft skin when taken out of the oven and expand the sculptural possibility of an everyday table.
Sculpturally lit: candlesticks
The candlesticks are having fun. It can be the desire to dress the spaces in which we spend a lot of time. Or add a soft glow to the dinner table during tough times. Either way, they have become a heartwarming and heartwarming addition in all seasons. Anticipating this new essential need, the smart folks at Modern Times commissioned a collection of contemporary candle holders from Australian artists. Handcrafted sculptural pieces like Kerryn Levy’s double rods, Tanika Jellis’ organic volcanic glaze shapes, and Bettina Willner’s coral-shaped supports support lonely moments and inspire reunion and connection again. When eating, make sure that the candles are not scented, so as not to overload the food. Beeswax candles are perfect. Depending on the candle holder you choose, you might like regular or twisted candles, tall pillars, or tea lights.
Loud laundry: towels and tablecloths
Gastronomic establishments often decorate their tables with white tablecloths and heavily starched napkins. Frankly, you don’t have to be that formal at home. ULO founder Dinzi Amobi-Sanderson believes in the power of tatting to boost morale. His textiles made in Abbotsford are inspired by the importance of sharing time and space with others. Cloth napkins are made from wax printed cottons from Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria and Senegal – the bright colors and prints encourage joy. Mix and match this fall rosette apart from the black and white gingham. Complete with white linen napkins, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the daring of forward-looking tables.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Howard Park Jeté Sparkling.