Astier de Villatte: The Perfect Fit

Soon after I married I regretted not registering for a set of fine china. What was I thinking!?  I’m sorry to say it would have been smart to think of that when our wedding guests were making the purchase rather than later when we would be.  Hindsight isn’t much help at this point.  Like most brides I thought  in the ‘here and now’, that they will forever be in a one bedroom apartment, forgetting someday in the future they will have a home, with a dining room, and a beautiful table that simply deserves a lovely array of tableware rather than the tired and worn set we use for every day. This new table deserves the best, like the finishing touch of a perfect shade of lipstick that rounds out your outfit before heading out for a night on the town. All regrets aside, I began searching. I had a pretty big wish list (or rather criteria) of what the final pattern needed to meet. I longed for something that had the touch of handmade, extremely durable, but with a delicate touch to each and every piece. I wanted the elegant look of days gone by balanced with today’s more casual living style. So I began my search for vintage inspired designs that would look very comfortable in more modern tablescapes, with lots of interchangeable serving pieces. Oh, and it should be a perfectly balanced “white” that could transition from casual to formal throughout all the holidays with ease and pride. Yes, a lot to ask for in a single line of dinnerware. I was seeking the superman of dinnerware. Looking for tableware today is not for the faint of heart.  So many choices yet none were ‘quite right’. But then I found it. Thrilled, I checked off my wish list…handmade (in Paris, France), durable yet light to the touch, inspired by vintage 18th and 19th century designs, with a wide range of collections designed to work together and dress my table from drab to fab, and last but not least, with that perfectly balanced milky white finish that would stand the test of time. So transitional. Simply lovely.  Simply perfect. Astier de Villatte was exactly what I was looking for. Mixing the interesting shapes of scrolls, dots, and scallop designed dinnerware against the fresh spring greens and delicate shades of blush pink and golds in my wool crewel tablecloth was a breeze.  There are so many interchangeable pieces to pick from. astier_de_villatte_tabula-tua-11_7 Now I was ready to host a proper Sunday brunch for some close friends. A last minute bouquet of fresh lilacs finished the table, adding a nice height and welcoming fragrance. The menu set….. fresh citrus mimosas, whipped ricotta with local raw honey (fresh from our neighbor’s hives) and mixed fruits, mixed baby greens with strawberries, almonds and candied pecan salad, smoked salmon, baby coconut shrimp tacos, asparagus frittata, corn bread with tomato chutney and to finish things off a generous slice of cream cheese pound cake with lemon curd. And don’t forget the piping hot coffee and English breakfast tea. Memories of time spent sitting around the table catching up on our lives, with ‘devices’ checked at the door, with good food and friends is priceless.  It’s a good thing. f672a59495cfa91c2391785e49d30d32   Cream Cheese Pound Cake   3 sticks of butter, softened 3 cups granulated sugar 6 oz. cream cheese, softened 5 eggs, room temp and whisked 3 tsp Madagascar vanilla ¼ cup buttermilk 1 tsp salt 3 cups cake flour (or 6 T cornstarch + all-purpose flour to equal 3 cups) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.  In a stand mixer with a paddle, cream softened butter, sugar and cream cheese until pale and fluffy. Slowly add in eggs one at a time, then milk and vanilla.  Batter may look curdled at this stage, but it will be fine.  Gradually mix in cake flour and salt, scraping bowl to be sure everything is blended.  Mix 2-3 minutes on medium until fluffy. Scrap equally into prepared pans, tap gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake 80-90 minutes until toothpick comes outs clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes, then invert onto a cutting board. Place on a large piece of foil and wrap thoroughly. Cool completely before cutting.  Cut into 1” slices. To serve, top with lemon curd or fresh fruit, and a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
Job Number:PNP_4193
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