Mel Francisco, a wife and mother to three young children, prefers to entertain girlfriends at home, preferably over brunch or lunch when she has her home to herself. To make the process as stress-free as possible, she usually has her gatherings catered and hires her favorite waiter.
For this particular brunch with friends, she had Morocco on her mind due to an upcoming trip she was planning. She stuck to the thought and opted for a Moroccan-themed setup. For decorations, she used one of her favorite collections—blue and whites. “My mom previously gave me several pieces from her own blue and white collection, which led me to start my own,” Mel recalls. “I have blue and white plates, glasses, napkins, vases, trays and tablecloths collected from various travels, which I use to mix and match. Blue and whites exude a classic, old-world feel, which I simply love. For this particular setting, I used mirror slabs as a base for my blue and white centerpieces filled with three-shades of pink flowers. You can never go wrong with Phalaenopsis to give your setting a touch of elegance.” Mel admits to sourcing most of her flowers directly from Dangwa, where she personally goes with her vases to be filled.
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“I don’t set out to impress my guests but rather, I set out to make them feel welcome and comfortable, like my home is an extension of theirs,” she says about her manner of entertaining. “I do this by having good food, good music, enough alcohol on hand, and an ambiance with a lot of candles and flowers.”
Being busy does not stop Mel from having a few friends over for some quality-girl time. She makes things easy, quick and convenient. “As much as I love to bake and would like to serve a home-made Lemon Torte, if time doesn’t permit, I have no qualms about ordering one,” she says. “As much as the whole setting is important, entertaining for me is really about the gathering of friends, family, and friends who have become family. It’s about the laughter and the conversations, about the catching up on each other’s lives despite our busy schedules. I try to keep all this in mind when I’m hosting a gathering in my home.”
Scroll down to see more photos and details from Mel Francisco’s Moroccan affair…
Menu by Hossein’s
Moutabal (smoked roasted eggplant with pita bread)
Mirza Qasemi (eggplant, garlic, saffron and eggs, tomatoes plus spices)
Soup: Dal Lentil Soup
Bread: Papadum, Roti Channai
Roasted Lamb Ribs
Kebab Selection: Vegetable, Beef
Wine: Dom Perignon Pink Champagne
This article was originally published in our latest coffee table book “Lifestyle Asia. Millennials. Travel. Entertaining.” To see more parties from Manila’s most discerning hosts and hostesses, you can purchase the book by sending us a private message on Instagram (@lifestyle_asia) or on our Facebook page. The book is also available in leading bookstands.