Fruits and Flowers in Bountiful Display: Emmeline Villar’s Dinner of Abundance

    A spread of varied cheese, cold cuts and Spanish jamon

    The trademark of a dinner hosted by Emmeline Villar is a fruit hollowed out with a name card set jauntily atop. “I often use a fruit, like an apple, lemon, orange or small pineapple that I carve and fill with a small floral arrangement,” says Emmeline. The last dinner was in the warmer months, so the fruit was a lemon. For dinner in the cooler months, it was an apple.

    The aesthetics of the table and the display of food is something that deeply matters to her. For her tablescapes, she likes including things that guests can take home or consume. “It depends on the occasion, but this could be fresh fruits, candies, chocolates, or potted orchids or succulents.” Each occasion is an opportunity for her to top her previous effort to present guests with a beautiful spread. “Sometimes my guests even comment that it is too much and it is quite overwhelming but I like it that way,” says the congresswoman. “I want the buffet spread to look bountiful and for the guests to have a lot of choices.” Beyond aesthetic, Emmeline is particular about the food served. “The foundation of a good dinner should be the food and it is the very thing that could make or break the evening.”

    Emmeline believes the best place to entertain is at home. It is a comfortable place for guests to linger and where needs for entertaining are readily available. “If they have a headache or an allergy attack, I want to have the medicine for them. Chargers, dental floss, disposable slippers and food containers for taking home food are all on hand when hosting at home.” She even welcomes the possibility of guests staying until the next morning, if needed. If they enjoy the food, she also prepares a small selection for them to take home. “I happily oblige, of course. That’s why I really prepare a lot of food so the guests can take some home too.”

    Emmeline always finds reason to entertain with live music. During a Christmas feast, she invited carolers to enliven the holiday spirit. It was a good way to get her guests to relax and at the same time give back to her causes. “I was happy that the guests enjoyed their performance and even participated by dancing and clapping as the carolers sang,” she says. The start and the middle of the dinner are the most harried times for any hostess. It is when the party winds down that Emmeline finds time to relax. “After dinner, I can sit back, relax and just fully enjoy the conversations and the company of my guests.”

    Baked Camembert with nuts and honey plated on rough-hewn wood chargers

    Baked Camembert with nuts and honey plated on rough-hewn wood chargers

    Truffled mushroom risotto and lechon stuffed with potatoes, herbs, spices and chillies

    Truffled mushroom risotto and lechon stuffed with potatoes, herbs, spices and chillies

    How To Make A Fruit and Flower Place Card

    1. Take a fruit, like a lemon or an apple.
    2. Carve the inside and insert flower foam, and create a small flower arrangement.
    3. Use a twig to prop up the place card
    4. For a formal occasion, have the place card professionally calligraphed. For smaller gatherings, for a personal touch, do it yourself.

    Text by Bianca Salonga

    READ MORE STORIES ON ENTERTAINING...

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    2. Monday Night Dinner and Wine Parties with Architect Carlo Calma 
    3. Kaye Tinga's Overflowing Table: Excellent Food with Wine Glasses That Are Always Full

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