Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Downton Abbey Style Dining Must-Haves

By Gretchen Sawatzki

Image: Mrs. Beeton's Book of
Household Management, 1907.
Hosting the perfect Downton Abbey, Victorian style dinner takes time, and effort, but any Victorian dinner can be fun and easy with help from, "Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management," and these 10 Downton dining must-haves.

1). Damask Tablecloth

Your white cotton tablecloth just won't do if dining like Downton is on your weekend roster. Damask, a traditional woven fabric with floral patterns is the proper tablecloth for special dining occasions.

2). Placemats

To designate each diner's place on the table be sure to include a lace or damask placemat. It gives each place setting a background, so choose a fun color that coordinates with your china.

Image: Mrs. Beeton's Book of
Household Management, 1907.
3). Glassware

Water glasses, wine glasses, sherry glasses, parfait glasses, champagne glasses and flutes - on the Victorian table anything goes. If a minimalist approach suits your dinner best, have at least one water goblet and one wine glass.

4). Silverware

Not your ordinary flatware, but silver-ware. From salad forks, fish forks, dinner forks, cocktail forks, knives, spoons, and so on, the more courses you serve, the more silverware you'll need.

5). China

If Downton style dining is what you want, you can't use paper or even plastic. For elegant dining china is your friend. You'll want a charger, dinner plate, bread and butter plate, and dessert plate for this smorgasbord.

6). Teacup and Saucer

Tea is an essential to any Victorian gathering, choose a tea with a light flavor to start the dining and end with a spiced tea to pair with dessert.

7). Napkins

That's right, actual cloth napkins - folded in fun and funky forms and set at every setting. Channel your inner origami to create boats, flowers, swans and slippers. All shapes are welcome!

Image: Mrs. Beeton's Book of
Household Management, 1907
8). Centerpiece

No Victorian table can be complete without a fruit or flower centerpiece.  Elegance is the aim, so stack those figs and arrange those flowers, bigger is always better.

9). Place Cards

A well-prepared, well-mannered host provides the best seating arrangements for great conversation. Place those cards wisely, you wouldn't want to seat the rowdy guests together!

10).  Menu

Every Victorian dinner provides a menu fit for royalty. Start with a soup, then it's onto the fish, entree and then dessert. Provide a menu card for guests to review, make sure each course is served hot, you don't want your guests to leave hungry.

With these 10 Victorian dining must-haves, you can host a Downton style dinner sure to amaze. To take your Victorian dining experience to the next level, add salt cellars, muffineers, knife rest, cruet set and nut cups to the table for a more authentic event!

Image courtesy:

            Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, London, 1907

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