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Easter lunch

Easter means different things to different people. To many, it’s a date of religious significance. To some, it’s simply a time to be glad of a double bank holiday and a mountain of chocolate eggs. To little ones, it means a visit from the Easter bunny, it means fluffy chicks, it means the Easter bonnet parade. Others barely bat an eyelid. At Neptune though, Easter means gathering friends and family to enjoy delicious food and wonderful company. Much like Christmas, it’s a time to bring everyone together, to indulge in a touch of innocent frivolity, to cook something impressive, to bake something big enough for seconds, and to set the scene so it all feels rather special.

At the heart of our Easter setting lies the dining table. So two weeks ahead of Good Friday, we look at how to get prepared and how to make your Easter dining table more than fit for the occasion.

 

A question of crockery
For spring-time suppers and lunches, we prefer to go down one of two routes: pure white fine bone china alone, or blended with a secondary set that brings in colour and pattern. It all depends on the rest of your setting. If you have colour on your walls, in any textiles and on your tabletop decoration, you might prefer to keep to white. But if you think you have room for another shade, blending our Fenton crockery with the new Winsford is a wonderful combination. Whichever way you go, there’s just the right amount of formality but with a crispness and a prettiness that feels just right for this time of year.

 

Selecting serveware
Presenting each component of your Easter lunch in carefully chosen vessels, within ceramic jugs, and upon beautiful platters is an effortless way to bring instant elegance to your table. But serveware can be elevated even higher by thinking about how you present it, too. It might be as simple as creating a runner using our Emily linen tablecloth to rest each dish. Or you might like to take a few life-like stems (or green sprigs) to place at the side of a large serving plate.

 

Setting the scene
This year, we decided to go big on florals to bring our Easter table to life. It’s the perfect way to express spring, and by using life-like flowers it keeps allergies at bay and won’t contradict any of the delicious foodie aromas. We took an old timber crate (you can buy them pre-painted and to look a little timeworn) and tied several loops of thin rope along its wooden slats to hang it from the rafters. As an alternative, you can of course use screw-in hooks from the ceiling.


Next came the flowers
We decided to work with a palette of pink, white and green. Suspend each stem upside down, attaching it to the base of the apple crate using heavy duty tape, or by bending the stems to hook them around each plank of wood. Be sure to vary the length of the stems, leaving some full length and long, others short and subtle, and the rest somewhere in-between (you’ll need long armed shears to do so though!) Any of our life-like florals will work together beautifully, so pick and mix, and then once Easter has been and gone, store your centrepiece somewhere safe to reuse again and again. Or, unhook your flowers and use them in vases throughout your home to make the absolute most of them.

Suffolk dining chairs in oak and hand-painted in Cactus.

Enough seats in the house
This one sounds obvious, but can often catch you out. Double check that you have enough chairs for everyone to sit around your table. And if you don’t, don’t feel you have to restrict your numbers simply because you’re a few chairs short. An extra dining chair can easily be placed as an accent chair in a hallway when it’s not in use, or as a dressing chair in a bedroom or bathroom. Equally, a dining bench can become a hallway perch, dressed with a plump cushion or two. There’s no shame either in bringing in a garden chair to pop at the head of the table; styled properly, anyone would believe it was always meant to be there.

Something with which to toast
Creating a seasonal cocktail is always a fun thing to do to mark a special occasion. We tend to do one alcoholic and the other as a mocktail for children and those who prefer not to drink. You can follow a recipe, or, get inventive and try mixing your own concoction using what’s in season and your tipple of choice. Serve it in a tall carafe with matching tumblers (try our Ella collection with its tiny trapped-bubble finish). Depending on how much time you have, consider making pretty ice cubes to go with your cocktails. You can use edible flowers, a touch of food colouring, a bit of fruit rind or a single berry if your ice cube tray is deep enough.


So this weekend, get your recipe books out, think about who’ll be joining you, what you’ll need, and who you’ll be roping in as sous-chef. Then make a list, and start planning. Easter will be here in no time at all, and we can hardly wait.