It’s no wonder that my very favorite Entertaining With story we’ve ever ran was the one with Justine Gilcrease — after all, she’s French. When it comes to entertaining, Parisians have cultivated a level of cool that’s seriously taken generations to achieve. They don’t shy away from luxury or elegance, but it’s all delivered in a way that’s a bit… undone. The fine china is out, but the party might very well end up in the kitchen with some amazing obscure vinyl playing while people open yet another bottle of good wine. In terms of decor nothing is too contrived or uptight — instead there’s a sort of rock-n-roll recklessness when it comes to fine things. It’s inspiring. An entertaining style that seems hard to execute, yet so easy to enjoy. And I should know — I’m writing to you from Paris right now.
When our friends at GILT turned us on to their Le Creuset sale, I couldn’t help but imagine a perfectly Parisian dinner party designed around it. I’m obsessed with the collection in “Cerise”, a deep crimson that would look so good in an all-white kitchen — and it’s on Gilt.com right now and available to shop at up to 70% off.
Cerise is Le Creuset’s bestselling hue, and no other shade embodies the passion and romance of the French quite like it. I love that the pieces go straight from the stove to the tabletop, since the iconic hue gives a distinctively Parisian touch to the setting.
Here’s what’s on my dinner party menu:
- goat cheese tartines
- crudités with dipping sauce
- roasted salmon and garlic with pickled fennel
- vanilla bean roasted pears (place firm pears in a skillet and top with a few slices of butter, drizzled honey, walnuts, and a split vanilla bean. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or so until pears are tender, then serve topped with ice cream.)
No Parisian party is complete without fresh flowers (have you seen the flower shops in Paris?) so I’d love to fill a few vases with fresh stems from a local shop. I’d tie on a linen cross-back apron and get cooking — Le Creuset cookware is authentic French cookware still made in France, so I’d have that going for me. Then I’d nix the overheads and eat by candlelight — maybe some simple taper candles in pewter candlesticks. Before dinner there would obviously be cheese (and maybe even after dinner as well…).
Supplies from GILT: Le Creuset pieces in Cerise, French cook book, Flower bucket display, Antique serve ware, Antique candlesticks, Champagne bucket, Linen apron, Bread and butter plates, Cheese knife set
Wouldn’t it be fun to send out hand-lettered invitations complete with wax seal before the party? I love these gold on black custom invites by the written word.
I’d also probably use the party as an excuse to invest in some fun artwork. I’m always keeping my eye on the art section at GILT — or who knows? Maybe I’ll do a little flea market shopping while I’m here in Paris… #splurge
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