This week’s dinner party has a sophisticated, modern rustic vibe.   I wanted to layer up solid colored table linens in white and natural flax colors, a look often associated with those effortlessly stylish Northern Europeans.  So why not go the extra step and throw a Scandinavian dinner party and pick a menu to match the aesthetic?

Scandinavian dinner party layering white and natural flax table linens

For the linens, the base layer is a rectangular white linen tablecloth.  On top we layered natural linen table runners widthways across the table – what the French call a tête-à-tête runner.  (This is the 18″x64″ size if you’re looking for them in the online store!)

Scandinavian dinner party layering white and natural flax table linens, candles and blossom

The napkins are the simple white pure linen napkins, and to add a little whimsical flourish, we tied them with rope and added a little flower sprig to each placesetting.  When using minimal color or print, it is beneficial  to have some texture in the textiles, which also fits with the rustic aesthetic.  The tablecloth was neatly pressed (there’s a fine line between beautiful texture and a mess!)  Our tip for artfully rumpled napkins and runners is to give them a short spin in the dryer on a low heat, then take them out and smooth by hand while they are still slightly damp, and that will give you this soft, textured look.

Scandinavian dinner party layering white and natural flax linen table linens, candles and blossom

The finishing touches to the Scandinavian dinner party table decoration were plenty of candles (essential for atmosphere and providing flattering light) and fresh blossom.   One of the keys to creating a tablescape that feels well proportioned and pulled together is to use items of many different heights on the table.  On this table we used low tea lights, different height glasses, tall taper candles and the final addition:  the tall branches of blossom that adds a fabulous theatricality.  There are a lot of pieces on the table, but because they are all glass and white, with just the natural linen runners to add a contrast, it all works together fabulously!

Our Scandinavian dinner party menu was very quick and easy to prepare.  The starter was Shrimp Skagen.  Named after Denmark’s largest fishing port, it is essentially dressed shrimp on toast.  It is easiest to use pre-cooked, pre-shelled small shrimp (I found these in the freezer at Whole Foods).  To make the dressing, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, horseradish, pepper and fresh dill in a bowl.  Combine with the shrimp.  Serve on toast (sourdough or brioche) and garnish will fresh dill.  It makes a fantastic lunch that you can prepare ahead of time.  To make it a little more fine-dining, we added some wild salmon caviar (you can use any caviar).  Serve with brut champagne.

The main course was fresh cod fillets with new potatoes and sun-dried tomato pesto.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Halve the baby potatoes and scatter them on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and rosemary.  Roast for 20-30 minutes until golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.  Pesto is very simple to make, but you can also just blend some sun-dried tomatoes with a jar of your favorite shop-bought pesto!  Add a little pesto to the potatoes, turn off the oven and place the sheet back in the oven to keep warm.  Pan sear the cod in a hot skillet – approx 4 minutes on each side.   Serve with fresh arugula (dressed or undressed), toasted almonds and shaved parmesan.

Dessert was a frangipani, fruit tart, served with whipping cream.  Not a Scandinavian dinner party speciality, but a great way to end any/every meal!

Scandinavian dinner party layering a white linen tablecloth with natural flax linen table runners and white linen napkins

Please browse our online linen store for more inspiration of how to decorate you table or your bed, and let us know if you have any questions or special requests.

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