French country entertaining ideas
Planning a French Country-inspired meal? Extend your theme to the ambience you create for your guests. The French love an artlessness in arrangement, but be careful: all the elements should have a measure of quality, not carelessness. In keeping with a menu featuring simple, rustic fare, your entertaining details should put the focus firmly on what's important-the friends beside you and the food on your plate.
• Use the freshest of everything-baguettes and cheese, vegetables and desserts
• Eat outdoors if you can, placing small pots of fresh herbs along the table as decorations.
• Bring a subtle connection to heritage to your table by setting places with heirloom china and old silverware.
• Emphasize the natural. Tablecloths and napkins should all be soft, washed linens; try placemats or chairs made of rush or wicker.
• Place mismatched tiles on your table as coasters for sturdy glassware.
• Stay in pastoral, French-influenced shades: greens, ochres, blues, off-whites.
• Plan for a seamless evolution of leisure; your gathering could last hours, in the French Country way, so offer smaller courses at regular intervals rather than one large buffet feast.
• Light lanterns and tapers as the sun goes down; let them mingle on the table with other eclectic elements like cloches, jardinieres, baskets and slipware.
• Make sure pitchers of both wine and water are handy.
• Open doors and windows to allow the outdoors in and present an atmosphere conducive to relaxation.