We are knee deep in the season of entertaining.  I don’t know about you, but we’ve already had some wonderful small dinners here at FrenchGardenHouse over the last month.



Sometimes 3 in one week! And co-hosted a drinks-and-appetizers hour before the theatre for 20-30 guests. {That might as well be called supper since the appetizers take the place of a true dinner.} Hosted a fun, casual harvest dinner get-together for our family around the fire-pit in the back garden.

It’s been a busy time since we got home from our last European antique buying trip. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and then the big winter holidays. Hanukkah. Christmas. New Year’s Eve.



I have been thinking about the magic of entertaining and sharing a meal with others.  {In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve used these photos before. I’m getting ready for one of my little people to visit for Thanksgiving week, and well, I’m thinking and planning things to make her visit exciting and fun.  So I’m recycling the table setting. Please forgive me!}


If you’ve read my blog for a while then you know that for me, planning the table usually comes before planning the menu.  Not that the food isn’t something I give thought to, but creating the atmosphere is more my thing.



I adore the glittering tablescapes, lighting candles, sparkling cut crystal glasses, the flowers and or fruit centerpieces, the wine or champagne.  All the pretty things we place on the table to let our guests know we love having them over.


But there are plenty of times I remember fondly a meal shared with family and friends that didn’t include any or all those things…pizza in a take-out pizza place, Christmas eve dinner at K-Mart, {of all places – long story}, lunch and gelato at a little stand in Parma, Italy.



So what makes a memorable luncheon or dinner? Is it a stunning French tablecloth? Embroidered linen napkins? Antique ironstone dishes? Or?


What parties do you remember with the greatest fondness?



If you think back to the best dinner parties or events you have been fortunate to attend or host, what about those was the “secret sauce” that made it just a little better?



The setting? The food?


Individual Apple Pies


Or was it simply getting together with people you love and sharing food and laughter around the table?  I think it’s a little of everything….but most important is that we, the hosts, are welcoming, relaxed, kind and caring.



What do you think is the secret to GREAT ENTERTAINING?



à bientôt