Setting the table for a spring festival
Setting a festive table is a wonderful opportunity for changing an ordinary meal into a festive and creative occasion. It involves sanctifying the event, honoring the participants and intensifying the culinary experience. The table design dictates human dynamics, rules of the ceremony and the atmosphere – therefore it is worthwhile investing in it. Spring offers the opportunity for setting two festive tables, Passover eve and Shavuot.
Two meals with many participants and tasters, where each meal has a character of its own. On the eve of Passover, around the central table of the meal, are many portions that are created according to specific ceremonial rules, while we enjoy a lighter meal in Shavuot and less formal hosting and that is centered in spring, flowering and the land’s produce.
Like designing a house, designing a table is inspired by nature. The aim is to create a comfortable and elegant atmosphere by using elements from natural and simple materials, like soft linen, hand-made ceramics, clear glasses of good quality, wooden bowls and dishes, and an abundance of flowers and natural spices that bring beauty and intoxicating scents to the table.
In order to make the central flowers more prominent, it is advisable to create a contrast between the color of the tablecloth or table and the utensils laid on the table.
So as not to compete with the colorfulness of the food, and detract from it, I prefer a delicate and quiet monochromatic design with a combination of not more than two colors. Flowers and fruit will provide the prominent patches of color.
The center of the table
If you invest in the design of the center of the table you should take into account that there will be no room left for the serving utensils, and therefore it is worthwhile to initially divide the portions.
Whatever the case, you should make sure that the elements in the center will not be so high that they interfere with the guests seeing one another.
With meals of many participants it is worthwhile considering not leaving the seating arrangements to chance. The success of the meal also depends on mutual interest and a flowing discussion amongst the participants. Moreover, when a guest finds his name at the destined place, a pleasant and personal element is created.
Thinking in advance
In order to avoid a “mountain” of tall bottles in the center of the table, think of a trolley for drinks close by, or a folding table with legs on which to place the bottles without interference.
Try to use what you have in your utility cupboard, house or garden and avoid sets. The whole idea is to surprise and be creative – by using an eclectic collection of plates and chairs, offering portions in untraditional utensils, or a combination of natural elements such as branches and stones – in this way you will create an experiential and unique table.