The Perfect Dinner Party

The Perfect Dinner Party
Good Friends, Great Food, and a Perfect Atmosphere


There is something special and exciting about planning and hosting a wonderful dinner with family and close friends. It can be a simple, outdoor picnic-style or a more elegant dinner. What’s most important is the time spent together – talking, laughing and enjoying wonderful food and drink together.  Just as important is creating the ideal atmosphere, so let’s plan a spectacular atmosphere together complete with, a delicious meal and a gorgeous table setting – just perfect.

Planning a spectacular dinner with those close to you can be exciting and fun, especially when trying to come up with and incredible menu and dinner table setting.  Whether you are planning an intimate dinner for two, a more formal dinner or something more casual, you want everything about your special dinner to go flawless.


Cocktails: Rosemary’s Pink Diamond Fizz
Appetizer: Lobster Bisque
Main: Sear-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with a Cognac Sauce
Roasted Medley of Winter Vegetables
Dessert: Chocolate Caramel Tart with Macadamia Nuts and Crème Fraiche Whipped Cream


Let’s start with the menu. We will start with an easy, elegant drink just before dinner – Rosemary’s Pink Diamond Fizz. This is a delightful, refreshing fruity, rosemary champagne cocktail. If you are also looking for a great substitute for the standard Mimosa, this is sure to please. In addition to being an elegant cocktail for the evening, this is also a wonderful brunch or wedding cocktail.

Who can resist an incredible lobster bisque to start? The first course is a savory, rich lobster bisque that is simply to die for. This recipe featured may take some work, but it is truly a great bisque.

After our first course, we will move into our main course of sear-roasted beef tenderloin with a cognac-peppercorn cream sauce, surrounded by a roasted medley of winter vegetables. A meal your guests just may dream about. Succulent, tender beef drizzled with a dreamy cognac-peppercorn sauce and a combination of roasted vegetables that burst with incredible flavor.

For our vegetable medley we used cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrots, shallots, rosemary, olive oil, butter, bay leaves and garlic. Absolutely delicious.

To complement our entrée, we will pair Damiani Wine Cellars’ 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Select Finger Lakes wine. Damiani has a terrific selection of exceptional wines and are located in the Finger Lakes, NY wine region.

We will conclude with a chocolate caramel tart with macadamia nuts and crème fraiche whipped cream for dessert. It is the perfect end to dinner. Recipes can be found in Fine Cooking’s Holiday 2015 magazine.


Now that our menu is planned, let’s turn our attention to setting the perfect table for our guests. It’s important to add color and warmth using the right table linens to meet your style. There are endless selections of colors and styles to meet all tastes in all price ranges. Even table linens costing $25+ can make an impact on the look and feel of your table setting. Choosing the best table linens for you is all about your style and your décor. It really makes all the difference and makes your guests feel special.


Fresh flowers and beautiful candles are always a great way to add a lovely centerpiece to the table. Candles glowing always add a soft elegance to the room – softens the atmosphere. Next, it’s about using the right set of linens. They can be casual, colorful or more formal. For this dinner party, we will dress it up a little more formally.

We are featuring The Linen Mill using their Barbara tablecloth, placemats and table runner for the buffet table. The Barbara Collection is manufactured in Belarus and the fabric is 100% linen, white jacquard, soft pattern with a hemstitched border. These linens are high-quality linen products, produced at the largest European linen mill with rich history and traditions, from flax carefully bred at the heart of Europe – the land, where it has been growing for centuries.

We are also featuring Ulster Linen Irish linen napkins plain hemmed in the color sage and the Ulster Linen Irish linen etamine placemats in sea green. As a special note, your tablecloth drop (amount of tablecloth hanging down on all sides) is ideal at 10-12” – lap level and even on all sides. There are some schools of thought that extend this to 10-15”. If you have a special tablecloth that may not have that drop length, but still has a reasonable one to cover all sides, feel free to use it.



Given dinner is a little more formal, we will use our fine china. If you don’t have china or it is not your style, even plain dishes dressed up with colorful linen fabrics or other beautiful dishes will also set a great table. Let’s set the table.

Position the flatware pieces beginning at the outside edge according to their order of use. Set the forks on the plate’s left – dinner fork first and then the salad fork. Place the knife, with the blade turned toward the plate, on the right beside the plate and the spoons to the right of the knife. Place the soup spoon to the extreme right (if using multiple spoons). Stemware is placed above the knife. Set the water glass or goblet above the knife. If serving wine or other drink, set this glass to the right of the water glass above the spoon. Put the dessert fork and spoon above the dinner plate – parallel with dessert fork edge pointing left and dessert spoon edge pointing right. If you would like to use separate bread and butter plates (we did not for this setting), place each bread plate and butter knife above the fork with the butter knife resting parallel towards the top of the bread plate and butter knife handle facing right. Only set the dinner and flatware for what you need.

The fun part about napkins is that there are many ways to fold them and incorporate into the design of the table setting. You can lay the napkin on top of the dinner plate – using fun folds or just laying it flat. You can also lay the napkin to the left of the plate either under the flatware or to the left side of it. You can also include napkins under the setting. For our table setting, we used a variation of the diploma style napkin fold, using a gold napkin ring and put on top of the dinnerware.


Now that our table is set, let’s cook dinner and prepare the dinner table for this spectacular meal – absolutely delicious and perfect. This is a dinner that is extraordinary and bursting with flavors throughout every course – quite honestly, the best dinner ever enjoyed.

Bon Appetit
Special friends & family, a delicious meal and gorgeous table setting – perfect

Linens featured in this article are from Beautiful Linens™ at

Recipes can be found in Fine Cooking’s Holiday 2015 magazine.

Rosemary’s Pink Diamond Fizz

Lobster Bisque

Sear-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Cognac-Peppercorn Cream Sauce

Chocolate Caramel Tart with Macadamia Nuts and Crème Fraiche Whipped Cream

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