The key to a great dinner party is creating the perfect atmosphere. How? All you need is a chic, sophisticated table, the right guests and, now more than ever, the desire to spend a pleasant evening in the company of friends.
Dressing the table is a fundamental part of the process. As Dorothy Draper wisely said in Entertaining is Fun, "the fun begins the moment you invite your guests." The next step is to rummage through the cupboards looking for decorative details to dress your table, like a vintage tablecloth bought at a flea market with napkins that match or don’t match, new or old, flower prints or checks: anything goes! Lay plates bought from Andrés Serrano in Calle Carnero at the Rastro flea market, a complete set or mismatched dishes, and add some modern cutlery with a vintage feel from Ofelia and tinted glasses from my friends at Atípica. Finally, set out plenty of candles for soft, intimate lighting and several vases of different sizes with wildflower arrangements.
Now it’s time to choose between a buffet-style or sit-down dinner, depending on the formality of the occasion. Baskets with different types and varieties of bread—there’s no accounting for taste! Cheese and cold cut platters, and two big salad bowls. Mallorcan blown-glass water pitchers and earthenware jugs for vichyssoise and gazpacho, which you can serve in glasses to avoid the hassle of spoons, bowls and plates (if it’s a buffet). If it’s a sit-down affair, it looks neater if everyone has their own bowl and spoon, but don’t worry if you haven’t got enough: just mix and match! You can also use the beautiful dishware from Los Platos de Pan or the Vimbi Vimbi artisans, a great way to dazzle your guests with an original, colourful spread while also supporting artists and craftspeople.
If you opt for buffet mode, you’ll need an easy and appetizing second course that can be served with two salads: a bowl of greens and a pasta salad, for example. Rosemary chicken roasted in its own juices or salt-baked fish are both excellent choices. I found a dish set in France with fish motifs that I like to use when I serve fish. I also bought all my fish serving utensils and cutlery there, in Port de Lane. They normally come in sets of six, so I mix and match. As for dessert, I prefer using older plates to serve a fresh summer fruit salad.
I envision a lazy, leisurely evening where we’re all eager to squeeze every last drop of pleasure out of the experience.
Laid-back and unpretentious, a good Spotify playlist featuring Fabio Concato, James Taylor, Patrick Bruel and some Spanish 80s pop. Music that lets us chat but also takes everyone to a familiar place, rounding out an unforgettable evening.