Rosanna Falconer and ST~GERMAIN hosted a delicious tablescape masterclass to learn how to add a dash of je ne sais quoi when hosting loved ones at the brand-new Whitcomb’s at The Londoner.
Setting your table for a dinner party is just as important for the tablescaper as food is to a chef. Textural layers, colourful patterns, natural bouquets and cheerful candles – it’s a feast for the eyes. And what better occasion to put your tablescaping skills to the test than hearing from the ultimate tablescaper, Rosanna Falconer, on how she worked with ST-GERMAIN to create a beautiful table and perfect soirée.
ST~GERMAIN, the world’s first liqueur expertly crafted from wild-grown, hand-picked, fresh Elderflowers have an appreciation for effortlessly elevating moments and both ST~GERMAIN and Rosanna Falconer understand the power of florals, colour and adding delight to elevate the everyday. Rosanna’s style is more than a traditional centrepiece, her tablescapes are always an all-encompassing design, just as ST~GERMAIN elevates the art of cocktail making. Below, Rosanna shares her tips to help master the art of tablescape to make their moments bloom.
Tablescaping With Rosanna Falconer
Things to consider when planning your tablescape are…
Inspiration can strike anywhere – from travels to a trinket. But more often than not, it’s seasonality. When dreaming up a theme, the seasons provide rich inspiration, plus you can be sure you are choosing food and flowers at their most magnificent and plentiful. With that as your starting point, consider putting a twist on tradition: Christmas needn’t be gold and red nor Easter girly pastels.
Colour is integral to what I do. It has the power to lift your mood and set the tone for the evening. Bold colours make an impact the moment your guests arrive but if you’re just dipping your toes into the rainbow for the first time, consider a white tablecloth as your blank canvas then add nods to colour with ribbons, napkins and florals.
The key elements to set the tone for the evening are..
Your friends will remember the bold statements and the thoughtful details – not much in between! I always suggest focusing on elements that will captivate the moment the evening begins, for example, an exquisite tablecloth or a cocktail like the ST~GERMAIN Spritz, finished with edible flowers. These elements effortlessly elevate the evening and set the tone. Most of all, your mood and vibe will set the tone most – I speak from experience! On nights when I’m running late, frazzled from burning something in the kitchen, I can hardly host with enthusiasm. If needs be, keep the cooking really simple or get ahead the night before. I usually slow cook a tagine or stew in the winter then a caponata or ratatouille in the summer – it means I’m ready to join my guests for that Spritz when they arrive!
Add personal touches to your evening by…
For me, the most important factor for a tablescape is personal touches: these will be the talking points that your guests remember and cherish. No-one ever really heads home and comments on the expensive crystal glassware; they remember the fun gossip, brilliant anecdotes and the special touches the host puts in. That’s what differentiates a dinner at home to a restaurant experience, after all. Is there a motif from the theme you could try drawing or painting onto placecards, perhaps? I hadn’t picked up a brush in 20 years until last year when I painted some peonies on a summer menu for a birthday. Now there’s no stopping me – recently I painted elderflowers onto placecards to dovetail with the ST~GERMAIN Spritzes. A few more ideas that might inspire: handwriting a menu makes things special; try photographs instead of place names; for a summer theme, write initials written in gold pen on shells. Most of all, have fun with themes e.g. tickets as place cards for a festival-themed dinner, rosettes as place cards for a country fair lunch… [I have photos of these dinners if required]
My favourite go to brands for signature pieces are:
I think a lot of people might assume I have cupboards heaving with cutlery and bursting with linen. I wish I had the space! I often rent (check out Maison Margaux), borrow from neighbours (Whatsapp groups are key!) or elevate the white crockery we were given for our wedding with a colourful ribbon or napkin. I love secondhand too: you can find such unique pieces in markets and charity shops. Vinterior is invaluable for really special vintage finds too. Investing in timeless pieces and curating a wardrobe of tableware that elevates the mood is wonderful though.
My favourites include:
- Bonadea for the most exquisite tableware you will find – their shop is a dream world marble, Florentine pink and hand-carved ceilings.
- La Double J for tableware that is pure joy in the most stylish way. JJ Martin’s designs are art for the table.
- Summerill & Bishop for table linen that makes your heart leap. I adored the Malachite Linen Tablecloth I used for my recent tablescape masterclass with ST~GERMAIN!
- By Hope Home for original hand-painted tablecloths and embroidered napkins.
- Ibbi Interiors for joyfully eclectic tableware sourced from travels across the globe.
- Candle Flair for a full spectrum of taper candles in all colours.
- LSA International for excellent glassware (I love the colourful Polka collection)
- VV Rouleaux for ribbons.
- Emma Shipley for dream-like prints that tell a story, depicted on everything from placemats to plates.
- Sophie Conran for scallop edged beauties and beautifully British designs (adore her collaboration with Portmerion).
- For summer, a parasol from East London Parasol Company is a must!
Plan ahead by….
First of all, try to keep a dinner party diary or scrapbook. I learnt it from my grandmother. After each dinner, write down the menu, guests, what worked, what didn’t. Then, when you find yourself wondering what to cook for a summer lunch, you have years of inspiration to look back on!
Get ahead with your cooking. As I mentioned, I love to use the slow cooker. I switch it on in the morning before starting work and then, 8 hours later, the dish is ready for dinner! Minimum effort and maximum flavour. I also tend to make a pudding ahead of time: tarts work brilliantly for this. I have tried (and failed) with complicated souffles and fondants too many times. Save those for date nights!
My all time favourite theme for a tablescape is…
My mind is always buzzing with ideas for the next one so I tend to look ahead to that! But I have fond memories Pastel Pumpkins that I did a few years ago for Halloween as it was such a manifestation of what I’m all about – putting a personal twist on tradition. I also find the special occasions stand out in memory: I hosted a dinner for my daughter’s godparents this year and it was wonderful. Her name is Aurora Bee, so I used colours of sunrise in the flowers and a bee motif flitted across the plates! Flowers are integral to what I do; the peonies and blossom of spring are my favourites so any table from that time of year is inevitably a favourite too! The tablescape I created for the recent masterclass with ST~GERMAIN was special for me: not only because it was so rewarding to talk guests through the seasonal flowers, colour scheme and bows, but because it was my last tablescape before a big adventure in Jaipur, India, where I’m based here until spring 2023. Let’s see how the block prints and garlands of this city inspire me!
Aroma: intense floral, elderflower notes combined with citrusy elements and a hint of passion fruit.
Palate: tropical fruits, grapefruit, and pear, with a hint of honeysuckle.
Colour: pale yellow with gold tonality, 100% comes from the elderflower extract.
In creating ST-GERMAIN®, no preservatives, additives or stabilisers are used. Thus, its pale golden colour may eventually darken over time. This is perfectly natural and will not alter the taste.
The ST-GERMAIN® Spritz
Mix 40ml of ST-GERMAIN® and 60ml of sparkling wine, top with 60ml of club soda, add a twist of lemon, and voilà: The ST-GERMAIN® Spritz. Vive l’Apéritif!
All proceeds from the experience were donated to The Drinks Trust.
Related Article: A First Look At Binky And Max’s Stunning Tablescape By Moriarty