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Episode 409 - Russian Romance
Intimate Table
Fit for a Czar...
My romance for all things Russian began in the ninth grade when I read Robert K. Massie's epic novel "Nicholas and Alexandra", the story of Russia's last Czar and Czarina. Although they ended up in tragic circumstances, the book depicts the wonderful twilight time of Russia's Imperial Court. I would like to share some ideas with you on how to recreate that atmosphere in your home.

I began by choosing a small, intimate place in my house that would be perfect for creating a sultry, soirée look for my guest and me. Then, I chose some royal blue velvet fabric, pulled it over to the wall, and then added a little bit of a ribbon treatment in order to create a canopy effect.

Next, I covered the table with a pale blue cloth over which I placed an antique lace cloth. For dishware, I selected a beautiful china service, white plates with gold rims, placed on top of silver chargers. Beautiful Faberge dessert plates were placed on top.

Glassware consisted of fine crystal goblets which were engraved with a double-headed eagle (the symbol of Russia) and Imperial eggs. (You could also incorporate different glasses such as gold-rimmed ones of various shapes). Complementary china gold-rimmed tea cups and saucers were added.

I accented the china service with a beautiful sterling service with a Grand Baroque pattern. For napkins, I selected some beautiful, white monogrammed ones, and I slipped them through silver napkin rings.

To help complete the romantic Russian look, I rented a five-prong candelabra in which I placed four tall, tapered candles. In the middle, where the fifth candle would have been, I placed a fresh, colourful floral arrangement.

Next, I placed down a few little trinkets that I've picked up along the way in my years of passion for Russia. They included a bronze-topped cigarette case with an engraved double-headed eagle; an egg with a portrait of Nicholas II painted on it; a few Ukrainian Easter eggs, very much in vogue at the turn of the century in St. Petersburg. Finally I set a beautiful, footed crystal bowl in which I placed all kinds of fruit.

As a memento of the evening, I decided to give my guest a tiny Russian Faberge charm. Tying a ribbon to it, I hung the trinket from the candelabra.

The atmosphere in my home was filled with Russian flavours and I could not wait for my guest to arrive.