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A mediterranean feast

03.31.2016

Spring is by far my favorite season. With the isolation of winter over and the summer travels in the horizon, spring is the awakening of season’s gatherings, a time to refresh your home and space, uplift your spirit, and enjoy the slower pace of life.

French By Design

Target invited me to create a spring gathering table using their new #TargetStyle collection, and I was beyond excited to discover the global beat of their new home decor and tableware collections: mediterranean inspired terra cotta dishes, handmade artisans ceramics from Vietnam or the Philippines, Polish recycled glassware and colorful yarn dyed or embroidered pillows.

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Some random shots from our trip to Barcelona and the south of France last summer. These inspired me to create a spring gathering table with a mediterranean flair.

 

Being from France and Morocco, our family has strong ties to the mediterranean culture and way of life. In the south of France as well as in Morocco, we love to gather with friends, in a relaxed setting, enjoy good food and spend hours around a meal catching up, debating and exchanging. Meal time is not just about food, it’s about sharing and enjoying a slower pace together and socializing. When we visited Barcelona last summer, we were reminded of this way of life we left when we moved from Provence to the US and how important it is for us. Recreating such moments now that we live in San Francisco is important to us because it’s part of our roots and the values we want to pass on to our two daughters.

So here is my mediterranean table and a few tips for entertaining with a global beat:

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Shown above: [left] Yarn dyed lumbar pink pillow and two-shade-yarn dyed texture black pillow. On the table, acacia wood white paddle board to present some Manchego cheese and charcuterie assortments. 

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Shown above: Embroidered multicolor striped pillow on my DIY daybed floor mattress.

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Shown above: Stoneware appetizer plates in turquoise, dark blue and blue dots. Acacia wood white paddle board, and gold flatware set from Threshold™ collection.

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Shown above : Mia recycled glass tumblers to serve Sangria and water, terra cotta dip bowl. The clam shells are recycled as a seafood salad containers.

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We set up a low rolling table in our San Francisco backyard with floor cushions [remember, I showed you my tutorial to make your own mattress a few days ago], my thrifted Moroccan leather pouf and a few colorful pillows from Target. I chose some graphic appetizer plates and recycled glass tumblers for Sangria and water. I cooked some tapas so that I wouldn’t have to spend my entire time in the kitchen : chorizo infused in rosemary and red wine, patatas bravas, seafood salads served in recycled clam shells, some red peppers stuffed with goat cheese, some Manchego cheese and olives as well as “Pan con Tomate” [transl. grilled bread with tomato], a typical Catalan appetizer we really enjoyed while vacationing in Barcelona last summer.

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Shown above : In a large round woven traywhite stripe terra cotta cereal bowls are used to present tapas dishes and a small terra cotta dip bowl for smaller sized bites. A garden herb marker with white pencil set is repurposed as a dish description tag for guests not familiar with tapas dishes.

 

I mixed and matched plates and bowls from the Target Threshold™ collection. The result is a table that is laid back, inviting without feeling too ‘sophisticated’ and over done. My theory is that if you want your guests to feel comfortable and ‘at home’, don’t overdo the table details and setting. If it feels natural and fuss-free, so will your guests sitting around your table.

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To set the mediterranean mood and keep the travel/ escape vibe, I added some exotic plants around our patio area : a small potted palm tree, a banana leaf tree, some mediterranean plants in pots such as lavender or sage, and I also used a large glass vase with a cut out banana leaf.  On the table, I potted some succulent plants in small and colorful dish bowls [who said you have to limit yourself with a dish purpose?]. I set up a big fabric triangle secured to surrounding trees that I sewed myself as a makeshift umbrella to create shade above the table area. Because our gathering was in the mid-afternoon, I added some heavy-duty drop string lights for the sunset time, so the tapas party could go on past day-light time.

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Shown above : Stoneware blue dots and dark blue dip bowl used as succulent planters, in the background, Mia recycled glass carafe and Mia recycled glass tumblers.

 

We listened to Spanish influence music – I highly recommend Manu Chao for a tapas party –  and our guests stayed long after sunset, a sign that everyone had a good time. What a nice way to get outdoors and celebrate spring, in good company, with a pretty, but oh-so-simple and relaxed #Targetstyle table!

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Are you planning a spring outdoor gathering with friends? What type of table do you usually set up? Any easy tip – or easy recipe – for entertaining you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your take!

Happy spring gatherings, and Salud, friends! Xo, Si-

 

This post is brought to you by TargetStyleShop the new Home collection in stores and online.

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22 comments

  • Ania

    Such beautiful inspiration! It makes me really look forward to summer!

    http://www.stylecharmer.com

    • French By Design

      Oh thank you @Ania! Summer is just around the corner… I hope you are enjoying a nice spring weather wherever you live. Xo, Si-

  • Taste of France

    You have captured the vibe perfectly. I love Target when I’m in the U.S.–decent quality at decent prices.

    • French By Design

      Thank you @Taste of France! It really felt like we were on the other side of the world indeed. Happy spring to you, and say hello to France for me #sigh ;-)

  • Sara

    So inspiring!!! I havent been in target for a while (thanks Amazon prime) but this makes me rethink… What else have I been missing at target lately? Thanks much for sharing this beautiful and inspiring backyard dinner settings… On my way to recreate it for a party I have soon at home !!!

    • French By Design

      Yes, run, @Sara! Their spring collection is divine! So happy my table inspired you for your upcoming gathering! Xo-

  • Tish

    Love the combo ; from colors and textures to the Manu Chao recomendation. Nice display in Instagram.

    • French By Design

      Oh, thank you so much, @Tish! I had so much fun creating the instagram video. Need more practice though ;) Thank you so much for your kind words – and Manu Chao is the ??!

  • Jonas

    Love the Catalan vibe! Your pictures and style are so perfect, they took me back to my last trip to Barcelona a few years ago! I so need to go back.

    Thank you.

    • French By Design

      So happy to hear, @Jonas. When you do go back, say a big hello to Catalonia and Spain for me! Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying my mediterranean backyard in San Francisco! ;-)

  • Lamia

    Love your table and simple tips like using a dish bowl as a plant pot, or the garden markers repurposed for the table. Simple and stylish ideas I will definitely steal for my next table. Merci!

    • French By Design

      Beyond happy to read that my simple tips inspired you for your next table @Lamia. Rock on now! Xo, Si-

  • Cecília

    Nice post !!! happy to hear that you tried and liked ” pa amb tomàquet ” when you were in Barcelona. We Catalans don´t know how to eat sandwiches without tomato: healthy and delicious.
    Hugs from Bcn

    • French By Design

      Oh, dear @Cecília, we didn’t just liked this dish, we adored it and kept ordering it at every stop! My version is obviously not as flavorful, but it’s still always a hit at the house! Please say a big hello and ‘I miss you’ to Catalonia for me! Xo-

  • Christine M.

    hmm! lecker! … it seems so cosy and relaxing! … I love your tablestyling, your meal,- and your dog! :-)

    • French By Design

      Merci @Christine! You get an extra hug from Daisy, and a glass of sangria! ;-)

  • Jess | Rose & Fig

    Wow, those plates really pop! Especially with such colorful (read: delicious) Moroccan food. Seeing dishes like Red Wine Chorizo make me long for the days of yore when I ate beef and pork. But alas, the olives and grilled bread are more than serviceable! Beautiful photos, too.

    • French By Design

      Thank you @Jess. Then extra portions of patatas bravas and pan con tomate for you! Have a lovely spring weekend! Xo-

  • Happy Tiffin

    I think I’m in love with this presentation. Everything is so great, the picture, angle, color, etc.

  • Ilke

    Wonderful setting. Need a recipe for patatas bravas sauce !do u use a sauce to serve it with?