Setting a Table
Regardless of whether you are setting the table for a formal dinner or a less formal occasion it is important that the table appears to be attractively presented. Each setting should be evenly spaced out and have a full set of cutlery.
If you are using side plates, the butter plate should be placed on top of the forks whilst the salad place should be placed at the side of the forks.
Serving Complimentary Bread and Butter?
If you are not sure whether or not you should offer your guests complementary bread and butter there are arguments on both sides. Those that don’t agree with it say that the guests may fill up on bread and then not order as much food. It can also result in wastage in the form of stale bread. However, there is also a strong argument which suggests that offering complimentary bread and butter can stimulate the salivary glands and rather than staving off hunger, can make your guests feel hungry and encourage them to order more.
Bread is relatively inexpensive and most guests love the idea that they are getting something for free, even if it is actually factored into the cost of the meal. The other advantage is that by providing guests bread to nibble on whilst they are ordering and waiting for the mains to come makes them feel that they are being attended to and mitigates the delay between placing the order and the food being served.
If you are offering complimentary bread to your guests whilst they are waiting to order, make sure that you provide them with bread and butter plates. These are small plates, usually 6”, whose sole purpose is to hold the bread and butter and should be ordered at the same time as your dinner service to ensure you can get a matching set.
The Butter Dish
Whilst bread can be served in a basket, the butter is usually served in a small dish. There is a wide range of styles available and the choice will be dependent on your taste and budget. Avoid serving packaged butter wherever possible as this will not make your guests feel special.
Amongst some of the most popular butter dishes are the Butter Pat Flying Saucer, which comes in two sizes and the White Butter Block. If you are wishing to create an elegant and sophisticated setting the Glacier Covered Butter Dish is a great choice. Options such as the Porceleite 9” Butter Dish and Profile Butter Block are versatile and can also be used for olives or lemon slices.