With the growing appreciation for healthy, organic, sustainably grown food, the number of food lovers and aficionados is growing every day. But the act of eating and enjoying food is hardly something that’s fully enjoyable by yourself: the true joy is in being surrounded by your friends and sharing stories while tasting delicious food. Here: we’re sharing with you what the essentials for an informal dinner in company.
1. Cutting boards
Whether you’re having your friends over for cocktails and a few snacks, or for a full-course meal, chances are you’re going to need a cutting board. The cutting board used to be used...well, to cut: veggies, meat, cheese, all these foods are still normally chopped up on a wooden or plastic surface to avoid damaging our countertops. But this is the hipster era, and old, functional objects such as cutting boards have been rediscovered and transformed into objects of beauty that are meant to be taken out into plain sight instead of kept away in the kitchen. The cutting board is perfect for cheese and charcuterie platters during a cocktail sesh with your best friends or before serving the first course of a rich dinner.
You can play around with different styles of cutting boards depending on how you’re thinking of using yours. For instance, are you thinking of putting all the food on a table and let people get their refills, buffet-style? In this case, you could go for a monumental piece, like the one above. Made of thick, solid wood, it’s not supposed to be moved: everyone will be drawn to it. But a cutting board can also be the opposite: if you’re a dynamic person end enjoy the idea of walking around tempting your friends with delicious appetizers, a thin, narrow cutting board is what you’re looking for.
Plates are critical. No matter how informal your buffet is, please, please, do not use any plastic plates. They’re awful for the environment and they’re just cheap and ugly to look at. Besides, why use boring and anonymous plastic plates when there’s a world of exciting designs out there? Tip: it’s a buffet in your comfort zone, not a solemn dinner at a gala, so you can focus on lively, joyful designs.
3. Tr(a)y harder
Yep, we’re back to trays. This is where you want to place all the dishes and/or snacks you’ve prepared; we love cooking, but it’s a tiring and sometimes stressing activity: the last thing you want is spending hours and hours cooking and then having to slap your food on an ordinary plate. You need to do justice to your creations, and you can do that with a tray. Be bold, and go for a multi-level tray! Multi-level trays allow you to arrange your food on a dynamic set of plates and surfaces, guaranteeing you a scenic final effect.
Elleffe Design is a synonym for "class": find out more of their creations here
4. Time for fruit
Now, fruit doesn’t need to be all in one place: if you’re serving cheese and charcuterie, you should sneak in a bit of fruit in there too; pears and grapes would be perfect. But in the end you want to arrange most of your fruit into a full platter. You generally have to options: bowls or trays. Bowls have a somewhat more domestic vibe to them: after all, there’s always a fruit bowl in our kitchens and on our tables during meals.
Trays work better if you want to have full control over the arrangement of your fruit platter; in fact, a fruit tray might work better if you care a lot about aesthetics. If you opt for a tray, remember to move away from wood: you’ve already used it for the charcuterie and cheese platters! Let’s not get repetitive.
5. Aren’t we forgetting something?
Yes: wine. It’s amazing how many foodies are also enthusiastic wine lovers. Some might say that our society is getting incredibly fussy about food and wine. Well, fussy or not, if you’re having friends over, wine is probably going to be there too. If you’re a follower of the Wine Cult, what you need to impress your friends -- and make it clear wine is your religion -- is a wine stand. Because why put away your wine on a shelf, when you can store it in style, in plain sight?