The essential ingredient for a successful reception is friendliness . But a table laid with elegance and attention can also have a small effect!
In this regard, it is completely normal to sometimes feel a little lost among the many utensils available and the advice given by your parents biiiip years ago...
It is to make your task easier that we have designed this little guide to (re)learn how to set the table in the French tradition.
The rules being made to be broken, it's up to you to apply them as you wish and, if necessary, to twist them to obtain the ideal table, that is to say a table in your image.
Step 1 – choose and install the tablecloth and/or placemats
The first must-have to set a pretty table is obviously to have beautiful table linen , preferably linen and from the Tomète brand - YES, this article was written in a perfectly objective manner. It will be used to dress your table and protect it.
For special occasions, we recommend that you iron your Tomète linen linen, for a clean and elegant finish. On the other hand, no obligation for everyday meals, since the wrinkled linen has a natural effect which is perfectly appropriate for everyday life.
Step 2 – choose and arrange your plates
Choose your plates according to the style of your table and the menu: large plate (main course), deep plate (soups and soups) and small plate (starter, cheese and desserts). Choose plates that preferably match the table linens.
The hollow plate can be placed on the large plate, but the small plate must only be served at the time of tasting.
Step 3 – choose and install the cutlery
The basic cutlery , namely the fork, the knife and the dessert spoon, are essential for all your meals. They may need to be supplemented with additional cutlery depending on the menu served (tablespoon, spoon and fish knife, etc.).
It is on the subject of cutlery that the French tradition differs the most from the Anglo-Saxon traditions.
In France, the tips of the cutlery face down and the sharp side of the knife inwards. In Anglo-Saxon countries, it is often the opposite. There are no official explanations for these differences, but it could stem from the tradition of French goldsmiths, who engraved their monogram on the back of cutlery, unlike the English tradition where it is inscribed inside. cutlery.
The layout of the cutlery conforms to the logic of their use. The forks are placed on the left of the plate, with the exception of the oyster fork and the snail fork which are placed on the right. Carrying knives and spoons are placed on the right. Finally, the dessert cutlery is placed between the plate and the glasses. They include a cheese knife (handle on the right), a fruit fork (handle on the left) and a dessert spoon (handle on the right).
Step 4 – choose and install the glasses
Choose your glasses, including a water glass and a wine glass (if there is wine) per guest. You can add a flute/glass of champagne and additional wine glasses if you change wines during the meal. A maximum of five glasses per guest.
Place the glasses above the plate and dessert cutlery, in descending order of size, from left to right.
Step 5 – choose and install your towels
Also add linen napkins. Avoid paper napkins which are certainly practical but honestly not very ecological and often rather inelegant.
They can be matched with the tablecloth/sets. You can also be more “fancy”, using different patterns or colors. However, always make sure that they are in tune with the general style of your table.
The napkins are usually placed on the left of the plate, although we also like to put them on the right… You can also place them on the plate, wrap them in a Tomète jewel napkin ring, or create a simple knot. Have fun !
Step 6 – accessorize
The essentials are in place, and you can leave it at that.
However, you can bring a more sophisticated touch by adding a centerpiece (a beautiful bouquet of flowers, for example), unscented candles placed here and there on the table or even a garland of lights or natural leaves.
Give way to your creativity. The main thing is that the decoration does not interfere with the service and does not prevent the guests from chatting with each other.