Excited, that’s exactly how I felt recently while organizing a dinner for friends. What simply began with “we would like to see your home ” and “when are you going to cook something nice for us”, luckily got “out of hand” a bit with a themed evening.
I thought of a theme; changed the menu a few times ;-); planned my shopping; gathered ideas for styling; made a playlist, but most of all I enjoyed all the preparations and especially the night itself!
Because I am a big fan of pure food I decided to throw a “farm to table” dinner: fresh, local produce with a story; good for us, but also taking our environment into account. Yes, I admit it: above all I prefer tasty food on my plate. But I become more aware of what is needed for that, and what impact my choices have on our environment. Because when I’m old and grey, I still prefer good and pure food;-).
Are you curious about this night and how you can organise your own “farm to table” dinner? Let’s gather together for a table full of fresh, local food. Honour the season, taste the pure flavours and enjoy the stories behind the food on your plate!
Setting the scene & the table
Choose natural, rough materials such as canvas, paper, wood and stone. A beautifully set table is an important part of a dinner party but with this theme it all may be a bit more playful. For table decorations use fresh, edible products such as herbs or a beautiful bouquet of colourful wild flowers.
Place different glass bottles with water on the table. You can already flavour these with for example mint leaves or lemon slices, or let your guests pick it themselves from your herb garden!
For serving food also choose natural materials: bread on a wooden board; snacks on a slate, salad in a beautiful stone bowl etc.
How did I set the table? I used a large piece of unfinished denim as a tablecloth. Instead of a menu for each guest I made a kraft paper table runner on which I wrote the menu with a white acrylic pen (by hand). I also wrote something about the origin of the ingredients on this menu. For “decoration” I placed several pots of fresh herbs that I had also used in the menu; besides the guests were able to pick these seasonings themselves. I used raw cotton tea towels as napkins. Several glass bottles of water, slate and wooden boards completed the table.
How to translate this theme into a nice playlist? Think pure music: singer songwriters fit well for example. With this theme you bring the outdoors into your home: so relaxed, summery tunes are also great. Need inspiration or looking for a ready-made playlist for your own “farm to table” dinner? Then check out my Miss Gingerish “farm to table dinner playlist” on Spotify:
It all starts with the season: which vegetables and fruit are available from your area/ country? Furthermore there’s actually just 1 tip: keep it as pure as possible! Once you have found the most beautiful local products it’s a shame to do a lot with them, don’t you think? Of course you will boil, bake or grill and add seasonings but keep it simple.
Do you wonder where you can find pure, local and (preferably) organic food? Probably it’s closer than you think. Dairy and meats, potatoes and asparagus; the best products made in traditional ways are everywhere around you! More and more (organic) supermarkets find their way to local farmers to get the best products. You could also buy direct from the farmer, which is often cheaper as well. It surprised me how much is actually available when you start searching on the internet: I found Amsterdam honey from my own neighbourhood and even Amsterdam soda in a beautiful bottle!
A sparkling wine or champagne with a fresh strawberry or raspberry makes the perfect aperitif!
Serve fresh, good quality bread on a nice wooden board, completed with pure butter; or make a simple spread of peas or beans. Slices of local ham or sausage and Amsterdam pickles will also be appreciated by your guests.
Keep the menu simple, whether you cook meat, fish or vegetarian. Buying local products does not mean that you will serve a typical Dutch menu. Found local basil? The Italian flavours are also pure and simple! Making a salad with Dutch vegetables? Of course you can use balsamic vinegar in your dressing! You have Belgian chocolate mousse on the menu? Make it with good quality local chocolate!
I created the following menu for my “farm to table” dinner (click on the links to go straight to the recipes):
- Freshly baked bread from Le Perron with traditional butter made from “Sophia Hoeve” in Warmond. Amsterdam pickles from Kesbeke
- Salad of Amsterdam honey marinated Dutch beetroot; Granny Smith; radishes; goat cheese from Bastiaansen; Frisian rye bread crumbs and edible flowers from Bloombites
- Pea and watercress soup with crumb of Brandt & Levie fennel sausage and purple potato crisps
- “Tante Door” organic chicken from the oven with fresh herbs from Andijk. Crispy smashed Dutch potatoes with avocado aioli. Super tasteful “slow” Bliss tomatoes from Westland
- Edible garden: panna cotta with organic yogurt and cream of Dutch cows, Amsterdam honey, Oreos, fresh red fruit and edible flowers
If you really want to complete the “farm to table” dinner: search for local wines. If you do not serve alcohol, flavoured water is perfect. Serve plain water and let your guests choose their favourite (organic) syrup or let them pick their own mint leaves to flavour their glass of water. Also light, fresh fruit juices from local, seasonal fruit are a good option with this theme.
Looking for some more inspiration? Check out my farm to table Pinterest board!
Got inspired to organise your own “farm to table” dinner party? I would love to hear about it or add your pictures, music tips or recipes to this story. Simply leave a reply below or share on social media: tag @missgingerish on Instagram or Twitter