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Top tips for entertaining guests this Christmas

We talk to Lucy Townsend, founder of boutique catering and events company WILDS and owner of the award winning pub, The Greyhound on the Test, about the best ways to entertain guests this Christmas. Here is what she said

Christmas is all about spending quality time with friends and family. I have spent too much time over the years in the kitchen and not enough time enjoying the celebrations, so I now have a few tricks up my sleeve to ensure the work is done ahead of the celebrations so I can relax and enjoy the festivities!

Therefore, I try to do as much as possible on Christmas Eve, like preparing your vegetables and meats the night before. Chutneys and dips can be displayed in beautiful dishes and refrigerated ahead of time. I also take short cuts like using disposable trays on the big day, as this will drastically reduce the amount of washing up!

There has been a shift in entertaining serving styles within the catering and events industry – sharing platters are an easy ice breaker for guests and are used more widely now.

As for setting the table do not be afraid to try something different. The ‘Oslo’ cutlery set from Selfridges, brushed in 24 carat gold, is a beautiful addition to any festive party (£71.50 for a five piece set).

dinner party prawns
Christmas is all about eating delicious food

Symmetry has been a huge featured style this year and to stay on trend take a look at the ‘Arris’ range of crockery by Wegewood. Their stunning black and gold side plate is a welcome break from traditional patterns. Prices starting from £15.

No table is set without candles and here at The Greyhound on the Test, we pride ourselves on mood and candle lit lighting. For Christmas and an understated centre piece we love the gold plated ‘Season’ candleholder by Georg Jensen (£95).

For more subtle candle light dotted around the table and the room why not try the ‘Ball’ candle by ‘Bougie la Francaise'(£10).

Christmas crackers are always a grey area but essential for any Christmas party. I recommend the ‘Luxury pheasant crackers’ by Nancy and Betty Studio available at Liberty (£45).

The revelries should continue into Boxing Day and whether it is curry, stew or pot roast we recommend a one pot centrepiece for ease of cooking with minimum effort. To display your efforts we have gone for a stunning copper and stainless steel stew pan by Mauviel (£350).

WILDS is the boutique events company specialising in outdoor catering for weddings, private parties and country pursuits.

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