It graced your grandmother’s holiday table, and you’ll likely pass yours to the kids. Why? Because, like white pearls and little black dresses, one-of-a-kind crystal and china never go out of style. Here, a brief history of the tabletop labels.

Waterford Wedgwood History

In 1783, exporters and brothers William and George Penrose of Waterford, Ireland, set out to create the finest crystal for decorative and practical uses. Over 200 years later, credited with achieving just that, Waterford merged with Wedgwood, one of the world’s premier manufacturers of high-quality china. Together, these labels became synonymous with taste and timeless tabletop style.

Start your collection in The World of Waterford & Wedgwood Boutique on Friday, March 14, at 3PM ET.

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March 14, 2014

If you’re an enthusiast of classic tablescapes, you’ll recognize the brand names below. The epitome of timeless, fete-throwing style, these two enchanting patterns are our top picks.

Portmeirion & Spode Tabletop Pieces

Botanic Roses by Portmeirion
This pattern is a surefire hosting win. Light, cheerful, and ever brunch-ready, its fresh blooms infuse a little English sophistication into every meal.

Blue Italian by Spode
Designed in 1816, Spode’s signature style features scenes from the Italian countryside and a border inspired by Japanese art. It’s stunning over a crisp white tablecloth – or even when peeking through a glass cabinet.

Our Garden-Inspired Tableware by Portmeirion, Spode, & More Boutique opens Thursday, March 13, at 11AM ET.

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March 13, 2014

My love for Italian food? Let’s just say, it’s everlasting. Fresh ingredients, savory sauces, seafood – I’m sold. This week, we’re taking our tastebuds through Northern Italy to Tuscany. On the menu: homemade gnocchi with pesto sauce.

Emily Schuman, author of the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, gushes, “Last week I made it from scratch and was delighted by the results. I love the versatility of gnocchi – that it can work with any sauce (I made a quick pesto) that you have on hand and is far superior to the packaged variety available in stores.”

How to Make Gnocchi

Potatoes, flour, an egg, and a ricer, and dinner is served.

Before you start ricing? Grab cooking essentials at our Sunday Supper: The Tuscan-Inspired Kitchen Boutique on Sunday, March 9, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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March 9, 2014

Industry professionals know copper is top-notch, but it’s a must-have for the home cook, too. Incomparable heat distribution. Ever-stunning on the stovetop. And despite what you may have heard, you can cook acidic foods in copper. (The secret? Using pieces lined with stainless steel or tin, both nonreactive metals.)

Why You Should Cook with Copper Pots

So whatever you’re whipping up – tomato sauce, orange chicken – don’t think twice. These chef favorites are whizzes in the kitchen.

Check out The Copper Kitchen: Cookware Sets & More Boutique on Friday, March 7, at 11AM ET.

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March 7, 2014

This spring, before the dinner parties begin, take a moment to assess your tabletop pieces. Missing a plate here or there? Whether you crave a modern or French-inspired kitchen, choose a handmade collection by this renowned label. Not only will your heirlooms be locked in – you’ll also find your soiree guests ever impressed.

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Continue reading “What’s Your Dining Style? 3 Collections by Villeroy & Boch” »

March 4, 2014

The word “smorgasbord” may sound complex, but really, it’s just a Swedish term for a meal offered buffet-style. Looking to make it truly authentic? Here are five foods to feature.

Swedish Menu Essentials

Lingonberry Jam
A tart red fruit spread. Think of this as the Swedish ketchup ­– it goes on everything.

Pickled Herring
Choose mustard, onion, garlic, or dill flavors for this tasty fish.

Swedish Meatballs
To us, they’re cute and tiny. To the Swedes, they’re just meatballs.

Open-Faced Sandwiches
These date back to a time when a slice of bread was used as a plate. Pile it high.

Pea Soup and Pancakes
Savory and sweet, this combination is traditionally served on Thursdays.

Our Sunday Supper: Smorgasbord-Style Boutique opens Sunday, March 2, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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March 2, 2014

Sometime between college graduation and now, I realized that I could recreate the same tasty drinks I’d sip at swanky Boston bars for a fraction of the price. Case in point: jalapeño margaritas. Needless to say, my friends were impressed when I served those up last week – salt rim and all.

This week? I went on the hunt for a tart concoction that didn’t scream summer. The answer: rum. Even when packed with grapefruit and oranges, rum – the way it warms from the inside – is ideal for cold weather. “The ruby color, however, is what keeps me coming back,” writes Pastry Affair blogger Kristin Rosenau. “A pink grapefruit is juiced, which is mixed with ginger ale for sweetness, rum for boldness, and triple sec to round out the citrus flavor.” Consider me convinced.

Grapefruit Rum Cocktail Recipe

Click the recipe card to download and print.

A couple of quick tips: Mason jars give this mixture a rustic feel, but it can just as easily be served in a martini glass. And, if you find it too sweet – or you’re looking to cut a couple calories – swap in club soda for the ginger ale.

Our Cocktail Hour: A Splash of Citrus Boutique opens Saturday, March 1, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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March 1, 2014

Pandora set to the salsa station? Check. The taco bar’s set up. With homemade guacamole – obviously. You’re a champ. But the fact is, it’s no party without the proper beverage. From the blog Love and Lemons: Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas.

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas Recipe

Click the recipe card to download and print.

Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons suggests mixing the margaritas with regular tequila, then preparing a jalapeño-infused tequila for guests to add to their drinks to taste. But, if you’re for spicy all the way, I say shake it up with the infused version from the start. If the taste is too sharp, add a slice or two of cucumber to balance the heat.

First things first – shop our Sunday Supper: Mexican Night Boutique on Sunday, February 23, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 23, 2014

Last Sunday at the Boston Wine Expo, we absorbed mouthwatering cooking tips aplenty. While in the same room with hundreds upon hundreds of vineyard owners and wine experts, we couldn’t resist asking – how does a beginner go about pairing wine with cheese? According to Angie Van Ruiten of California’s Van Ruiten Family Winery, the most basic rule is this: “Pair soft cheese with white and hard cheese with red.” To graduate beyond novice? Read on.

Delicious Wine and Cheese Pairings

Blue Cheese
Salty blues like Gorgonzola balance best with sweet whites like Riesling and Moscato.

Hard Cheese
Pour a full-bodied red – Cabernet Zinfandel or Chianti – with full-flavored Cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan.

Soft Cheese
Brie, Muenster, and Camembert work well with Champagne or Chardonnay, which won’t overpower their milder flavors.

Okay, enough studying. Prepare for your soiree with our Cocktail Hour: Host a Wine & Cheese Party Boutique on Friday, February 21, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 21, 2014

Whether you’re a braise-and-sear kind of cook or you keep health in mind, we’ve outlined the benefits – and a few things to be mindful of – for each. So, do your research, then get choosing. That stack of cookbooks is begging to be cracked.

How to Choose Cookware

Continue reading “3 Types, 1 Kitchen: Which Cookware Works for You?” »

February 18, 2014