What we found on Italy’s tables during a recent trip
-Angela Traversa, reporting from Alessandria, Italy
We Italians love to cook with seasonal ingredients, and the same holds true for when we decorate the table too. Instead of a centerpiece of expensive hot-house flowers, I like to create them using fruits, nuts, and greens that are in season during the winter.
I recently catered a buffet for a couple’s 25th anniversary and made two fun centerpieces, which you can easily copy.
For one, decorate a fresh pineapple with kumquats, lychee nuts, gooseberries, and dates (attach them to the pineapple with toothpicks); top with a few feathers and place onto a raised fruit dish. Set in the middle of the table, not only is it eye-catching and festive, but it’s dessert, too!
For the second centerpiece, decorate a foam cone (available in craft stores or floral shops) with chestnuts and leaves; top with feathers and a candle, if you like.
Other simple touches that add Italian flair:
-Huge or odd-shaped bread is a stunning table decoration. Don’t be afraid to buy big. (You can always slice and freeze it for another time after it’s served its decorative purpose!)
-Use fresh herbs and fruit to decorate serving platters, like rosemary under a cheese wheel.
-Dim the lights and use lots of candles, both tiny and tall ones – the food and guests will both glow!