Monday, May 9, 2011

Gourmet Dining at Home and the Art of the Coaster

How does your home cooking stack up against the fare at your favourite restaurant?  It seems that more and more people are asking themselves that question these days as tighter budgets put the pinch on those fancy dinners out.  Just like many of us are now indulging in “stay-cations” rather than pricey beach holidays, many people are challenging themselves to create a fine dining experience at home that’s high on taste and style, but easy on the wallet. 
This desire to wow guests and family members has turned into a bit of an obsession.  It seems like there is a constant supply of new recipes, ingredients, techniques and gadgets to try out, and not enough meals in the day to fit them all in.  And that’s just the food itself.  While great tasting food is always the main goal, budding foodies everywhere are also trying to replicate the style and ambiance of a fancy restaurant right in their dining rooms.  This emphasis on table top décor is an ongoing trend that shows no sign of stopping any time soon.  After slaving away in the kitchen, it can be a little discouraging to watch your family distractedly gulping down their dinners and scattering as soon as the plates are clean.  Using table top décor to set the stage of a meal turns an ordinary dinner into an experience that’s more likely to hold an eaters attention – at least long enough for the chef to collect his or her well deserved praise.  One table top item that’s experiencing a bit of resurgence lately is the humble coaster.
Coasters have long been used to protect furniture from unsightly heat and water marks.  In recent years however they’ve gone from practical necessity to stylish décor.  Coasters are now being used to accent table tops and come in a huge variety of colours, patterns and styles.  Unlike flatware or china, coasters are a fairly inexpensive item, and an easy way to change up dining room décor without blowing the budget.
I love the floral design above – the rich red background creates an elegant feel (and I just realized it matches my dining room walls perfectly!) 
I also love this fun and fresh Art Boutique design – perfect for freshening up a brightly lit breakfast nook where family can gather for a casual meal, or of course, protecting the coffee table in the family room. 

Both Pine Ridge Art and Art Boutique coasters are stain and heat resistant and feature non-slip cork backings.  These and many more designs are available now in-store and online at
Happy Dining from Pine Ridge Art!