It’s almost that time of year… when family and friends gather, prepare delicious food, and sit down together to give thanks for all their blessings. I am the first to admit that serving dishes and colorful plates are not the most important part of this holiday. However, I do believe that food tastes better when it is displayed well and that hand-crafted pottery is the perfect pairing for hand-crafted recipes. With that in mind, I’ve put together a guide to setting a beautiful Thanksgiving table.
The first consideration in how to set a beautiful Thanksgiving table is the size and shape of your plates and bowls. You want to choose ceramic serving dishes that fit your food comfortably, with plenty of space for hands to pass the dish or serving spoons to rest within it.
#2 Color: Show off your food.
While often overlooked, the color of the food is an important determining factor when deciding in which plate, platter or bowl it should be served. You want to highlight the food and make it look it’s best, which usually means serving it on contrasting colors. Here are a few examples:
I love adding grapes and dried fruit to a cheese plate, both for the visual effect (adding color) and to balance the richness of cheese. The Tuscan Fruit Platter (below) is perfect because of its hand-painted fruit motif, which supplements whatever you serve on it by adding a backdrop of fresh fruit color.
Yams or Sweet Potatoes
Colorful foods are always the easiest to make look good. The most important thing to keep in mind with especially bright and colorful food is to serve it on a plate or in a bowl that allows its color to really stand out. If the serving dish is too colorful itself (whether in a different or similar color), the food will not stand out. For bright orange yams, I opt for a white background so the color can really pop. Here are too great options: Gorky Gonzales’ El Mar Platter (seen on the right) and Ceramica Valenciana’s Rectangular Platter in white (below). The El Mar Platter has always been one of my favorite ceramic serving dishes because of the unique shape and subtle decoration around the edge. In this case, the complimentary colors of deep blue in the glaze and golden orange of the yams play off each other perfectly. Yum!
#3 Style: Whether sophisticated or casual, pick a style and stick to it.
You can pretty much tell by the collection of pieces I’ve curated at Emilia Ceramics that I usually opt for a relaxed, laid-back style. But there are definitely events (Thanksgiving being one of them) when a more sophisticated style is in order. That’s why I love Gialletti Giulio’s plates. They have a grown-up, fancy look to them, but still maintain their hand-painted authenticity. You can literally see the brush strokes that were applied by the Italian artists who made them. But they also offer a lovely white backdrop for your meal. And there’s a variety of designs, which look great mixed and matched together or used separately.
My favorite style for dessert plates is subtle, yet fun and festive. The Spanish dessert plates (below) by Ceramica Valenciana are my ideal, because they work regardless of whether you’re serving pie, cake, brownies, or fruit salad. They are delicate, charming, original, and stylish. These plates are perfect for serving all ages and really showing off whatever dessert you’ve prepared.
Other great dessert plate options are Richard Esteban’s fun yellow plates with various center designs, from cars, dogs, fish, and birds, to more festive polka-dots and stripes, these plates are as sweet as any dessert imaginable. For a more refined, grown-up look, Gialletti Giulio’s more basic plates with stripes are a lovely backdrop for apple or pumpkin pie.
Do you have any special tips for how to set a beautiful Thanksgiving table? We’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments section below.