Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been over a month since The Alchemy of Hospitality, the 4-day retreat and workshop I hosted with Melinda. Nine students, and a handful of helpers and workers gathered at a historic manor home (built in 1799!!!!) in Shenandoah Valley for hands-on workshops centered around the art of hospitality, shared meals, foraging, fireside chats, and hosting a long-table rustic dinner. We had a lovely time, and it was a treat to get to know our students and delve into the meaning of hospitality together. I’ll be slowly posting photos (all by Sweet Root Village) over the next month or so, spreading the love and gorgeousness!
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite tabletops from the weekend. During our retreat, we surprised our students with a 4-course plated dinner. We asked our students to bring semi-formal attire, and that was all they knew! I had so much fun planning the details with Melinda and Chef Christopher and then surprising our students with the table and menu.
Our menu, put together by Chef Chris, was out of this world. My absolute favorite was the Red Kuri Squash Soup. His soups are incredible. Here’s the full menu:
as guests arrived…
For this elegant table, I wanted to add a touch of nature (always), and embrace the history and rustic charm of the home. I wanted the carefully crafted menu to be the star, so I kept the color palate very limited: whites, grays, and greens. Then, I used solid silver flatware (from Melinda and I might be a little jealous), slate-colored cloth napkins (handmade by Laicie, with fabric from Finch Sewing Studio) and linen table runners, all white dishes, and layered pieces of greenery in between plates and bowls and such. I love the formality of a table with multiple glasses set at once. Mr. Carson would be proud, or so I like to think.
Our calligraphed menus and place cards were all handwritten` by Jasmin at Estudio RoJo. Jasmin executed these pieces perfectly; it was such an honor to work with her! For the centerpiece, we wanted to keep it simple, elegant, and low. So Lauren from Sweet Root Village used only white French tulips and a few greens, and she tucked them into a shallow soup tureen and surrounded them with a pair of antlers.
I’m so grateful for the team who made this dinner so perfect for our students and for the opportunity to share such wonderful photos with you all! Hope you are inspired for your holiday tables! More from this retreat coming soon (including a beyond-beautiful film made by Joy).
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