Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Entertaining

With June just a week away it is time to update your summer entertaining gear. Whether you are hosting a backyard barbecue or an evening of wine, cheese, and tapas you need to have a few go-to serving pieces that will dazzle your guests just as much as the food you are serving. Most of the time simple is always better but a little whimsy touch here and there adds a bit of unexpected flair to the gathering. 

This Bubbled Beverage Dispenser ($298, Anthropologie) is perfect for a big batch of sangria filled with summer stone fruit, fresh meyer lemonade, or iced cucumber basil water. It is made from recycled glass that has been shaped to resemble a soap bubble being puffed out of a wand... rustically modern indeed.

Nothing is more attractive (and completely necessary) than a host that doesn't take themselves too seriously. Comedic relief comes easily with these dixie-cup inspired Sommelier Wine Glasses ($48, A+R Store) by Czech designer, Maxim Velcovsky, that are each hand-blown from borosilicate. 

Whether you are serving garden-infused cocktails or white wine spritzers, you will need some extra glassware on hand and this 8-peice Marta Barware Set ($17.80, CB2) is minimalist and made from ultra-thin glass creating a stylish and modern appeal. The set contains four 18oz coolers and four 13 oz double old-fashioneds. 

For casual gatherings where guests are noshing and standing versus a sit-down dinner these maplewood Wine and Dine Plates ($8.95, Crate&Barrel) are the perfect solution. Guests can secure their glass to their plate with a cleverly designed cradle notch. 

When serving up food from the grill or putting out a charcuterie board I always reach for something wooden (recycled wine barrel ends or chunky butcher's blocks) but If I need something lighter I reach for artsy trays like this Large Feather Tray by Michael Angrove ($43, Gretel)  made from birchwood in Sweden or this Musings Tray ($48, Anthropologie) by Australian poet and potter, Kylie Johnson. 

Create some atmosphere with Roost Antiqued Mercury Glass Tealight Candleholders ($28, Velocity) made from recycled beer bottles complete with iron wire loop for handing. 

Remember that even the simplest of food can be made to look fancy with the right serving vessel. Check out this Oreo Cookie "Cake" served on a pedestal via Martha Stewart Living. I love cake stands, especially these black ones by Rosanna Rococo Noir ( $35+, Amazon)

On a final note, don't forget the music. My go-to playlist for entertaining is either Rodrigo y Gabriela (perfect for BBQs and Tapas) or the soundtrack from Something's Gotta Give (trust me on this one) which is laced with songs from Eartha Kitt, Louis Armstrong, and Coralie Clement (ideal for cheese, wine, and martini gatherings). 

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