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Inspired entertaining with Alice Lines and furniture and homeware co Città

In association with Città.

To help you enhance your spaces with thoughtful styling, homestyle’s Alice Lines has partnered up with Città. Read her entertaining advice.

The Italians and Spaniards call it aperitivo, the French apéritif, and this European tradition — relaxing into evening entertaining with a pre-dinner cocktail and savoury snacks — is one I like to embrace at home in the summer months. Not every occasion requires a full-blown menu, and this style of soirée is super easy to add to your repertoire.
My main hack for keeping things simple is to have a well-stocked pantry and bar, and chic serveware ready to roll. A selection of small vessels instantly elevates the deli goods I like to have on hand — Sicilian green olives, fancy crisps and spiced almonds are my go-tos. Trawl your local store for specialty items that need no more preparation than popping in a bowl, then level up with interesting bites — Spanish-style gildas (made with olives, anchovies and pickled peppers on skewers) are a spicy little addition, and perfect with a spritz or negroni.
Matte-glazed ceramics are a refined, elegant option for use from kitchen to table, while classic wine tumblers are just right for a relaxed mood. Round out your table setting with a linen tablecloth and textural coasters in earthy hues. They’ll set a laidback-luxe tone, which a smattering of tealight candles will carry on into the night.

ABOVE, FROM LEFT Ochre tablecloths, $179 each; Pinto coasters, $30/set of four; Pure wine glasses, $90/set of six; Halo dip and serving bowls, from $14 each; Momentum tealight holders, $17 each; Forge pickle fork, $15; Pinto basket, $45, cittadesign.com. ADDITIONAL ITEMS MAIN IMAGE Serving tray, $380, champagne cooler, $460, and martini mixer, $260, by Arne Jacobsen, cittadesign.com. Shadow Games artwork, $2500, helendeanart.com. ADDITIONAL ITEMS BELOW, FROM TOP Pinto placemats, $30 each; Pure Bordeaux glasses, $90/set of six; Piccadilly carafe, $70; Rib tumblers, $120/set of six; Talo side plates, $100/set of four; Utility cutlery, $139/set of 16; Forge salad servers, $70, cittadesign.com. Food styling (this image) Gretchen Lowe.

For gatherings planned or pulled together at the drop of a hat when friends pop in, I like to optimise the experience of hosting by making the setting special, but never overpowering; in a way, you want the styling to fade into the background so the food is the hero and the conversation makes the lasting impression. Once you land on a look that works for you, I think it’s totally acceptable to serve up the same tableware in the same setting every time you entertain. I’m all for making life easy by repeating what you know works well. Think of it as creating your signature style.
cittadesign.com

Words & styling Alice Lines
Photography Simon Wilson

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