Who knew the jewelry world was filled with so many super hosts and hostesses? Their flair for entertaining may come in handy in the runup to the holiday weekend (that is, if you have time to even think about anything other than the final week of holiday shopping). From menus to cocktail garnishes and table décor—some of it created by the designers themselves—turn on your favorite yuletide carol and read on to get the party started. Happy Holidays!
A Quick and Impressive Tarte Tatin from Leslie Paige Founder Leslie Smith
Before Portland Oregon-based designer Leslie Smith of Leslie Paige launched her jewelry line in 2015, she worked as a pastry chef, so we knew she’d have some top-shelf holiday baking tips to share. She recommends trying out a relatively easy recipe that nets impressive results: “If you’re asked to bring a dessert to a holiday gathering this season, make an Apple Tarte Tatin on the fly,” she says. “Prior to attending your event, confirm with the host that will have sugar, salt, butter and a heavy bottom large sauté or cast-iron pan on hand (which most people have on hand). If your host does not have these items, you can always bring them along with the other things you will need, including store-bought puff pastry or pie dough and six to eight large apples.
“About the time guests are finishing their dinner is when you can assemble and prepare your beautiful Tarte Tatin which bakes for about 15 minutes in the oven. Be sure to allow a moment for the other quests to praise you and enjoy.” Access the complete recipe here.
A Venerable Holiday Cocktail from Jewelry Industry Writer and Consultant Peggy Jo Donahue
“May I interest you in a Boulevardier, invented in the 1920’s at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris?” asks Donahue, whose everyday dinner posts alone will make your mouth water if you’re one of her Facebook friends. And when she and her husband really pull out the stops? Forget about it. Named to honor the expat creator of a literary magazine of the same name, the Boulevardier was memorialized by bartender Harry MacElhone. It’s equal parts whiskey, vermouth, and Campari, and a holiday favorite chez Donahue: “Many modern bartenders add a greater amount of whiskey, but the original is less boozy, more European,” says Donahue. “Plus, all the distinctive flavors get a chance to shine, especially if you experiment with different styles of whiskey, vermouth, and amaros, as well as garnishes like an orange peel and a Luxardo cherry.”
Party Set-Up Hacks from Jewelry Designer Susan Gordon
The New York based designer is an accomplished hostess with helpful tips on a number of topics, from grocery shopping for a party to setting the table. For example, when it comes to setting said table, her advice is to do it the day before. Why? “When guests arrive the room and table will look beautiful and festive,” she says. “Also, I can take my time to check all the glasses are clean—no water marks. Silverware is polished. These are things I don’t use every day, so I like to check. I also like to take out all serving pieces and platters I’ll need the day of the event so I’m not trying to find things in the moment, and I get to spend more time with my guests.”
Flowers are a must: “I love to have lots of candles on the table with many small, low groupings of flowers. I always want everyone across from each other to be able to see each other.”
Gordon also reviews her recipes well in advance and make two lists. “I do nonperishable food shopping a week or two before, and the perishable foods a few days before. That way it is less overwhelming.”
A Jeweled Tabletop from Jenna Blake Founder Jenna Grosfeld
According to Grosfeld, the key to designing a tablescape that reflects your style and personality means integrating something undeniably “you” into the place settings, whether it’s the dishes, napkins, or a centerpiece vase. For the designer, it’s her jewelry—baubles for guests to swoon over while they wait for dinner to start! (Get inspired by the tablescapes on her Instagram.)
A Chic New Party Collection from Shelley Sanders, Cofounder of The Last Line
Sanders recently added the Party Collection, a line of home and entertaining essentials, to her brand’s assortment as a way to celebrate the ordinary every day. In her mind, any meal can be a party when you incorporate with unique and whimsical tabletop elements. She hopes the collection inspires others to create new traditions around the holidays. Here at TZR, we’re into it! In fact, a sweet pair of candlesticks made it into our 2022 holiday gift guide for staffers and clients.
Super-Special Glasses from Beth Hutchens, Founder of Foundrae
Beauty is in the details! After designing cocktail shakers and tumblers in 2020, Hutchens has since expanded the category to include water glasses and carafes. Suffice to say, beverages served in these hand-blown and hand-engraved masterpieces from Turkey are a gorgeous thing. Last year, Hutchens unveiled hand-painted Tenet plates in collaboration with Laboratorio Paravicini from Italy and continues to grow her Foundrae table offering with the new Tenet Place Card Holder Set.