Archive for October, 2017



ILVE favourite Giovanni Pilu (of Pilu at Freshwater) is the Fantastic Foodie in our ILVENISTA campaign! He’s so fantastic, in fact, that he’s served up five hot tips for dinner party hosts below.

One of the most important things is simplicity, otherwise you’ll spend all night in the kitchen. If your menu gets too fancy, your guests will be teasing you while they’re drinking their cocktails: “Hey, how’s it going in there? Having fun?!” If you go for dishes that you can sort of pre-prepare – pasta, pizza, salad – when everyone arrives you can just put stuff in the middle of the table, get out of the kitchen, and enjoy!

And so it begins!

And so it begins!

It’s worth keeping in mind that you may have a vegetarian or someone with a food allergy or someone who doesn’t eat fish (or all three) at your dinner party. I always try to do three or four dishes: a vegetarian pasta, a meat course, and a fish course – that covers virtually everybody who’ll be showing up.

A dinner party is about sharing and bringing people together. The best part about sharing is that it’s also an ice-breaker: it allows people to interact in a relaxed way. Chill, share, eat, talk.

Another successful dinner party in the books.

Another successful dinner party in the books.

I’m not great with wines, so I look to match food with a wine that comes from the same region. You need at least two wines – one white and one red. Nothing too big or strong, so you can drink it without food.

A lot of people finish with cheese but I love to start with cheese and crispy bread. It can be as simple as ricotta or you could even go for something aged – Parmigiano-Reggiano is unbeatable.

Find out more about ILVE’s Freestanding Cookers here:

And our Built-In Ovens here:

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

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Jen Bishop, aka @interiorsaddict, aka The Socialite from our ILVENISTA campaign, shares some insight into how to set the most stylish table for your next big dinner.

Family Dinner
Christmas and special occasions are a great excuse to go all-out with your table settings and embrace the theme, whatever it may be. Christmas doesn’t have to be tacky (although, if you secretly enjoy paper crowns and bon bons, why not, I say?). You can go low-key but classy festive by using brown kraft paper as a table runner, vessels generously filled with green foliage, and some metallic accents, like gold cutlery and candle holders. If you have lots of children coming, perhaps keep things a little less… breakable. Don’t get out all your best china and crystal if it’s likely to get knocked over!

When it comes to your dining table, always dress to impress.

When it comes to your dining table, always dress to impress.

Dinner With Friends
Share-style food is a lovely way for the host or hostess to avoid being stuck in the kitchen: just let everyone dig in and help themselves. While we all know we shouldn’t be on our phones at the dinner table, let’s be honest: we all feel a tad smug and satisfied inside when we see someone snapping our table-styling efforts to share on social media! Make your table more Insta-worthy by considering what it looks like from above, à la flat lay. Beautiful blooms will always make a table– and a photo – so don’t skimp on the flowers, as they’ll do most of the work for you. Invest in great stemware and simple but quality linen napkins – you’ll get a lot of use out of both.

It's all about the details.

It’s all about the details.

Dinner Date
This is all about the candles, which create a romantic mood and flattering lighting (also good for taking photos, though that’s really not the priority here). Be wary of anything fragranced, however, as it may be overpowering or at odds with what you’re eating. Make sure you don’t overcrowd your table, so you can gaze into each other’s eyes without obstruction!


Grin and Pair It

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Ben Moechtar, The Grape Crusader from our ILVENISTA campaign and a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, offers a masterful take on wine and food pairing, from sweet to spicy to… artichokes: the sommelier’s nightmare!

Yes, there is a science to pairing, but it won’t work without a little bravery. Let’s begin with the basics, though. Light dishes with light wines; heavy dishes with more robust of full-bodied wines. It doesn’t matter if they are white or red wines: match the weight and aromatic intensity of the wine to the dish.

Ben Moechtar, ready to pair.

Ben Moechtar, ready to pair.

Sweetness in food should be balanced by sweetness in wine. This is especially true with desserts. If one is sweeter than the other it will dominate. Both should be balanced and harmonise. The experience of eating and drinking should be improved or elevated.

Spices and chilli need a foil. The wine must provide this but be fresh enough to cleanse the palate. The freshness of a wine is provided by the wine’s acidity. High acid wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon can cleanse the palate, especially if the dish is a little oily. They also match raw elements in a dish.

Reds can be dry and tannic, or soft and juicy/fruity. Fruity/juicy wines possess a higher spice tolerance.

Pro tip: pair sweet with sweet.

Pro tip: pair sweet with sweet.

Ready for a quick chemistry lesson? Tannic reds are better with richer meats cooked medium rare: it’s about binding ‘free’ proteins. For another example, try artichoke, which contains cynarin. It makes water taste sweet, but doesn’t match well with wine… it creates a weird, metallic taste. Artichokes are a sommelier’s food-matching nightmare!

Pairing wine with food relies on people opening their hearts, minds, and palates to new experiences. Keep that in mind, and happy pairing!


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