Restaurants and hotels always wrap up nicely during the holidays. Big Christmas trees with the most beautiful decorations in the lobby, facades full of Christmas lights and the tastiest Christmas dinners on the table. Of course, this is what you want at home! But how do you throw a restaurant-worthy Christmas party? We asked the Antwerp boutique hotel FRANQ with the star-studded restaurant of the same name.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression…That’s why your front door definitely deserves some Christmas love. A Christmassy arrival already does half the job. Hang a festive Christmas wreath on your door or make it a lot cozier with two lanterns. Surprise your guests with decorations in not-so-obvious places in the house. So yes, even on the toilet! Buy not just a tree, but branches you can hang throughout the house. Hotel manager Christel Cabanier tips to infuse your home with a welcoming aroma. “At hotel FRANQ we use our own house perfume, which immediately provides a warm welcome.” Curious about the scent at hotel FRANQ? Stop by the hotel for their fragrance sticks or spray.
At home, you can easily put a pan on low heat with boiling water and cinnamon, cloves, orange peels and pine greens.
Make sure you have your welcome drink ready before your guests arrive. Get the pan of hot chocolate or mulled wine ready or surprise your guests with a hot Aperol: heat Aperol, white wine, apple juice and orange syrup and serve the Christmas cocktail with a slice of orange juice, stick of cinnamon and star anise. Also, prepare in advance a small snack to welcome your guests with and take their coats. Small effort, grand gesture! A flash of music in the background also makes a big difference, according to hotel manager Cabanier.
Preparation is as important as the dinner itself, according to celebrity chef Tim Meuleneire. Thanks to good preparation, you’ll have more time to spend time with your loved ones on the evening itself.
For a warm look, set your table with a linen tablecloth and linen napkins. Then get started with Christmas decorations and create a pretty centerpiece with pine greens, candles and Christmas glitter. If you like to pay attention to the details, place your plates all the same distance from the table edge and directly opposite each other. To shine your cutlery, put on a pan of boiling water and hold your cutlery over it for a moment. Then rub your spoons, forks and knives shiny with a linen napkin or tea towel. Do the same with your water and wine glasses. Cover the cutlery and glasses the same everywhere for that real restaurant feel! Move the chairs around as far. Not all the way to the table, but just slightly in front of it. For an extra personal touch, hand write and decorate your menu or name cards.
Your delicious Christmas menu is cooked and ready to be served. Don’t just quaff the food on the plate, but pay attention to your dish. Build the dish up in height (put that piece of meat on top of the potato mousseline) and don’t skimp on sauce. If necessary, put some extra sauce on the table in nice pour jugs. Before Christmas, get yourself one of those long pincets, where you can place small parts of your dish exactly where you want them. Think of eedible flowers that instantly brighten up your plate. Satisfied? Then finally wipe any splashes and greasy fingers off the edges of the plate with a clean linen cloth or tea towel and you’re good to go!
A successful stay at the Hotel FRANQ during the holidays is rounded off with a small gift to remember. After a successful Christmas dinner at your home, you naturally want to send your guests home with a warm feeling. Do you still have a polaroid camera somewhere in your drawers? Take nice mood photos of your guests during the evening and give them one of the photos when they leave. Write from behind the date and that way your Christmas dinner will be remembered for a long time!
Looking for even more Christmas & gift ideas? Then be sure to check out our PureStyle page