Friday, December 31, 2010

The French House Wife Dinner

One of my favorite fantasies is to be a French house wife. You know, live in France, shop the food markets, and cook like a French woman.

I have been this way for years and years after spending time in France, and then working in a French restaurant in New York for six years. So I schooled myself to cook French dishes, to think like a French house wife at the market, and to latch onto what I perceived as a more genteel lifestyle.

Visual Vamp table setting inspired by France

So for Christmas Eve dinner, I knew I wanted to do a classic French house wife supper, simple and fresh food, well prepared. I chose to do roast chicken with herbs, a medley of vegetables (baby beets, baby carrots, squash, shallots), and herb roasted potatoes. I asked Jack to make a chutney, and he obliged with one made from black berries, apples, and cherries. The wine choice was a festive sparkling rose.

Dessert (and a baguette for the dinner) was purchased from the local patisserie: A hazelnut Buche de Noel. Added to the dessert table: Miss Elaine's cashew toffee, a cranberry lemon cake in the shape of Christmas trees, Alberto's arroz con leche, a bowl of dark chocolates, and the star of the show, flaming Cafe Brulot.

Cafe Brulot cups and dessert plates on the sideboard

Classic New Orleans Cafe Brulot cups have a devilish jester on them

A special copper pot to flame the Cafe Brulot

Setting the table is as much fun as cooking for me. I knew I wanted to do red this year, so I raided the cupboards for all the red ornaments I could find.

Vintage ornaments, sugared fruit, sequin flowers, all in shades of red

I had two yards of a red damask print fabric, that I used for a tablecloth. The print is called Mairselles!

Red Le Cadeaux plates from perch.

I used a white under plate, and a red dinner plate from a company called Le Cadeaux. It's Melamine, and we sell this line at perch. The plates come in many classic French colors and patterns, and you have to touch them to realize they are not china, and even then you aren't completely sure.

Mix and match glassware

I mixed and matched glassware, one glass for champagne, and one glass for water. I used red linen napkins with tiny a twig wreath as a napkin ring. A place card was tucked into the napkin ring. White ironstone butter pats were used to hold individual servings of sea salt and cracked pepper.

White under plate, red dinner plate, red linen napkin
White ironstone butter pat for salt and pepper

Antique flatware - we use it everyday

Chairs were mixed and matched too. The dining room is tiny, and the table unopened holds a snug eight.

Visual Vamp dining room - dinner for eight on Christmas Eve

You can see a couple of videos Alberto made of the night HERE and HERE.

The table was set with L*O*V*E

We are totally enjoying the holidays, and I love when Alberto films our good times so we can share them with you.

Paper white narcissus plant on the white lacquer bar tray

Other little touches included a paper white narcissus plant on the bar tray, and some baubles added to the chandelier.

More baubles on the chandelier

The candles were lighted, the music was playing, the dinner was ready, and ding-dong there's the door bell!

Visual Vamp Christmas Eve table setting by candlelight

Hope you enjoyed this last Visual Vamp Tablescape Thursday. Stop by Susan's Between Naps On The Porch HERE to see what everyone else did to close out 2010.


Denise said...

Fabulous! There isn't a detail left unattended. How lucky to have a talented friend who can record all your good times together.

I LOVE your chandelier. When you tire of it, send it my way.

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

So gorgeous! I love love love that tablecloth and the vintage ornaments sprinkled about. Those cups with the fabulous! How lucky your guests were to be there. It sounds like a perfect meal.

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

I just watched the videos and soooo loved seeing the Cafe Brulot being made. How fascinating. We need more videos like this of your lifestyle in New Orleans. I am going to call my friend who is from there and ask her if she had ever made and if not...we are going to make it for New Years!

Thanks so much!

Abby said...

Love your tablecloth! Beautiful!

My Notting Hill said...

Gorgeous and vibrant table settings. Love all the beautiful red. I've never heard of a Cafe Brulot - off to google it. Best wishes for a very happy and healthy 2011!

MollyMarler said...

How LOVELY! Thank you for sharing; I LOVE seeing how other people live. I, too, often fantasize about being a French housewife... however my fantasy involves the absence of my children, and a man that is decidedly not my husband in the bedroom...ahem... er, thank you for the peek! love it! ;)

fay said...

Hi what fun it made me smile ,YOU WILL have a fabulous party enjoy and happy new year to you Fay xxx

Sketch42 said...

Valorie- INSANELY beautiful. Seriously.... Could be in a magazine!

Gerry said...

What a fun table! So Christmasy, yet very elegent! Your house really looked so pretty this year. I like the way you decorated it very much. I love those green candles on the table, where might one find those?

Renae said...

Oui Oui Oui...fabuloso! (that's French paired with Espanol!) hehe
Beautiful Valorie...I love Alberto's little films too!

Gerry said...

Sorry I meant elegant! I should proofread before I hit publish!

Marlis said...

Oh i love love love your red and white table. I too have some Le Cadeaux and love it. We use it all summer long outside. Your menu sounds wonderful too. Happy New Year.. ooops Bonne Annee!

Anonymous said...

ok, i know stuff is supposed to look nice for the holidays, but your house and table were downright fabulous!

alberto's video was almost like being there, and at least we weren't in park slope this weekend.........

corey and you ever think about swapping houses for a month? (houses and husbands?)



NYCLQ said...

Hey Val! Loved spotting you over at Susan's tablescape link party! Your table looks fabulous and I especially love your Cafe Brulot cups with that devilish jester!!

!!! Happy NEW Year !!!
xo Lynda

concretenprimroses said...

Lovely! Red and white are so wonderful to gether. The love chain is so sweet.
I'm wondering about the painting. Who is the artist? I love it.

Anonymous said...

Dahling VV,

Your Christmas Eve table looked lovely---I don't know how you do it. I have enough energy and patience to decorate or to cook, but not both.
I hope you and Alberto have a lovely New Year's celebration---I have a good feeling that 2011 has to be better than 2010!


Naomi@DesignManifest said...

Sounds absolutely droolworthy and it looks spectacular! Darling, you know how to throw a party!!

Love the dining chairs too.

Happy New Year!


24 Corners said...

Oh, to be a French housewife! You seem to have mastered the art of being one beautifully!
My maternal 'arrierre-grand-mere' was one and I'm so thankful for the bit of her blood that runs through my veins which allows me to feel like one every now and again.
Your table setting along with each and every special touch, from the food to the chandelier, were breathtakingly festive, and so pretty, such fortunate guests you had!

A very Happy & *Healthy* New Year to you, Alberto and Cholo!!!
xo Jessica~

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Valorie- Such a beautiful celebration! the reds are so life-afirming!

A Very Happy NEW DECADE to you and Alberto!


Donnie said...

What a pretty table. Your photos are lovely. Happy New Year.

jlonit said...

Lovely. I've stated here many times the fact that I love your new dining room (and the old red one too). Those red plates trimmed with baby pink are beautiful.

*Chic Provence* said...

Dear Valorie I KNOW you had a fabulous holiday in this incredibly festive setting worthy of the most French of housewives!! I can see you tango-ing in with the pate and champagne!

Lots and lots of love to you this New Years and wishing all good things for you and Albert this year...

xoxo Kit

Mona Thompson said...

Oh my gosh Valorie. This is superb and I am sooo glad that everyone is up to this. I know this is for Christmas Eve, but Happy New Year!!!!!

Jessica Wrasman said...

Hott! What fun. Who wouldn't want to have dinner here?!

SoozNooz said...

A new visit for me - hello!
Lovely inspiration and images --- thank you for sharing

Beadboard UpCountry said...

I am sure the food was as delicious as these pictures!!!!!I am so glad you are enjlying the holidays, and Robes and I wish you and your family lots of good tango times in 2011!!!!Maryanne xo

Carla said...

HI Valorie, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Love the table and the red, so warm and inviting.. Wishing you and Alberto a spectacular 2011. Carla xx

Lila said...

I think it's safe to say that you're well on your way to becoming that French housewife! That is a gorgeous table!
Lila Ferraro

Hill House Ramblings said...

I'm with you Valorie. I'd say being a French housewife is probably one of the best gigs out there! Everything looks gorgeous and so creative. I love those devilish jester cups. They really pop. A happy and very healthy New Year to you and Alberto!


Visual Vamp said...

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for all the great comments!
Hope you are all making Cafe Brulot!
Gerry - the green candles are by True Grace Candles, a company in the UK. We sold them at perch. last year, but did not reorder this year. We sold out, but I found one set of six in a deep beautiful blue. email me and I will send you a photo...
xo xo