The Blue Dinner

My wife and I received these wonderful blue plates as a blue1present for this Christmas and I wanted to use them before the holidays were over… While our Christmas dinners are usually a more predictable red, green or white theme, I wanted to see if we had enough stuff around to pull off a “blue table.” The plates are chargers or buffet size and have a medium blue outer band and a gold rim. They were manufactured by Robert Haviland & C. Parlon in Limoges, France and the pattern is known as “Bleu monet.” They go nicely with the plain Limoges white plates I normally use for proper dinners…

I started with a nice medium blue tablecloth that I had had custom made several months ago to fit our long dining table. ablue2The fabric was sent by my sister and another sister-in-law arranged to cut and sew it into a tablecloth. It has a simple diamond pattern on it to give it texture. The plates looked pretty good against this tablecloth and then I just added the silver cutlery, plain Reidel wine glasses and a small mother of pearl butter plate to pick up the theme of the mother of pearl fruit or dessert knives and forks at the top of the plate. Most of the components of this place setting are generous presents from a sister that trolls the auction houses in New York for great buys or who just enjoys all nice things for the table.

I had no flowers by 10am the morning of the dinner so I thought ablue3I would just fall back on plain white orchids in simple crystal vases. But sometimes nice things just fall into place and a shot in the dark visit to my Makati flower wholesaler yielded spectacular bluish tinged hydrangeas that I mixed with some light green ones I had in pots and some white dendrobium orchids that had tinges of light green. Placed in several crystal vases and throw in some votive candles and it looked pretty darn good, if I say so myself. Arrangements took 15 minutes to make, max.

For dinner, we started with some cold seafood including these humongous ablue2crab claws that are a bit out of focus. This was followed by a nice salty Southern ham (from Paris, Tennessee), baked sweet potatoes, asparagus and an apricot compote that I made the night before. We also served nice hot crusty French bread. This was a rather low intensity dinner. The seafood was brined and steamed ahed of time, allowed to chill in the fridge. The ham was cooking earlier in the day and a last minute glaze of mustard, brown sugar and a little vinegar was applied and cooked until a bubbly, caramelized state.

For dessert, we had fresh Baguio strawberries with whipped cream and not in the picture, ablue3miniature turon with dulce de leche. The Baccarat crystal was out in full force, the berries just looked so much better in this classic pattern called “Harcourt.” The vases were various Baccarat vases we have gotten over the years, some of them at second hand stores in Paris… Good lead crystal is incredibly clear, luminous, reflective… I totally understand the attraction with 18th and 19th century formal dinner parties where there was tons of china, silver, crystal AND candles that then reflected off of everything else… the “blue dinner” worked really well…


10 Responses

  1. Everything looks great!

    On Riedel glasses … I remember attending a hoity toity “glass tasting” session once where the hosts were telling us how great Riedel glasses were because they had a special wine glass for almost every wine imaginable.

    Supposedly, different wine glass shapes affect the bouquet of the wine, etc. All lost on the girl that doesn’t mind drinking wine out of milkshake glasses, coffee mugs, shot glasses …

  2. riedel….. bacarrat hmm I go to second hand shops too looking for some great pieces
    but I just took out my kosta boda snow globes candle holder for my table.

    Where can I get that mother of pearl plates?
    Its an amazing blue…I dont go for red & green on xmas…

  3. sha, the plates are Haviland and should be accessible in most of Mainland Europe, particularly in France I would imagine. The mother of pearl bread plates are from the Philippines and I have them in several sizes…perfect for caviar for example…

  4. your guests are very lucky indeed MM…eating good food, prepared and perfectly served in such settings, with good company like yours…

  5. I know Haviland…there is a boutique in Monaco selling haviland pieces and in Cannes too

    thats the one I have been lookinf for CAVIAR SPOON.. where can i get them?
    whats the price range?

  6. those mother of pearl spoons are too expensive in UK and in France every time I see them all I could think these must be a lot cheaper in Phils.

    anyhow I also want to know about yr nara salad bowl… opps out of topic here but my friend is coming back and I asked her to look for one.

  7. Sha, the large narra salad bowl I have I got in Baguio and requested that it be left unfinished with no varnish or anything. I also have a mango wood bowl that was given to me over 10 years ago that is spectacular but not usually found in stores. The Mother of Pearl Spoons are very cheap here $5-8 depending on size and your friend can find them at any Balikbayan Handicrafts outlets… I often give sets of MOP plates and caviar spoons to Western friends’ as wedding presents, etc.

  8. If I ever get the chance to come home I’ll make sure I can get hold of you. I’ve read heaps of your blogs. I want to meet the author and hopefully get invited to your lovely home, where everything comes together. Keep up the good work.



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