Delicious food, a good bottle of wine and great conversation are the main ingredients of a successful dinner party. Yet, unique presentation and serving pieces can be the icing on the cake of an already exceptional meal. You can truly wow your guests at your next gathering with culinary antiques that are unlike anything they have seen before. Here are a few of our favorite kitchen antiques that you can find in our current collection.
Monoplane Portable Bar Cocktail Shaker
“Shaken, not stirred.” Bond, James Bond would have loved this cocktail shaker that dates to the 1930s and the “golden age” of the cocktail. The “Portable Bar” model takes the shape of a monoplane and is the perfect piece to serve your pre-dinner drinks. It features everything needed to craft a delectable libation, including a shaker with strainer, a large inner flask, two "wing" hip flasks, four gilt-lined shot glasses, a spoon with an olive fork, a corkscrew and a funnel.
The shaker was created at the tail end of the Prohibition era, a period when bartenders were especially innovative when it came to their alcoholic concoctions. This is partly due to the poor quality of the bootleg liquor of the Prohibition age — mixers were a must! — but also the general inventiveness of the age. This monoplane shaker is both a rare and nostalgic reminder of these glamorous days when the cocktail reigned supreme. If you love entertaining, this shaker is the perfect accessory for creating hand crafted cocktail drinks.
Irish Mahogany Wine Cellarette
As your cocktail hour inevitably leads into dinner, search this beautiful wine cellarette for the perfect vintage to pair with your meal. Crafted from mahogany, it certainly makes a stately addition to the kitchen or dining room, but it is also highly practical. The felt-lined interior of the cellarette has slots for 18 different bottles, allowing you to store the perfect wine for any pairing.
In the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries, the wine cellarette was considered an essential piece of dining room furniture, and we are all for bringing it back into style. The delightful storage fixtures were designed to be displayed beneath a sideboard, where dining guests could easily view the evening’s selections.
Flora Danica Porcelain Dinner Service by Royal Copenhagen
A dinner party always offers the perfect excuse to use your fine china, and this beautiful Flora Danica dinner service by Royal Copenhagen is the best of the best for entertaining. A similar service is owned and used by the Queen of England, so here is your chance to truly dine like royalty. Each piece features hand-painted botanical motifs taken directly from Flora Danica, a Danish atlas of botany. This particular service includes rare aquatic motifs of Denmark's native fish species, making it perfect for a fish course.
Tiffany & Co. Chrysanthemum Flatware Service, 247 Pieces
Every household needs a good silver flatware service to use for special dinners, and this example by Tiffany & Co. certainly fits the bill! It incorporates 247 pieces, including your standard forks, spoons and knives, as well as oyster forks, asparagus tongs and even a tomato server.
Historically, brides on their wedding day have registered for silver flatware, and the Chrysanthemum pattern by Tiffany & Co. has long been one of the most requested services of its category. The design was particularly popular among brides of the Gilded Age — it evokes a modern Art Nouveau style as well as timeless Baroque shapes. Because of this, it remains just as popular today. Due to the intricacy of the design, it is also one of the most expensive for Tiffany to produce, and the quality can be felt in the weight of each and every piece. A beautiful antique flatware set is the perfect addition to elevate your collection.
Continental Silver Gilt Salt Cellars
With all of your fine porcelain and silver flatware, it would be a shame to offer salt in a simple shaker. These salt cellars add further pizzazz to your tablescape, functioning both as convenient salt servers and decorative objets d’art. Each features kneeling satyrs supporting grotesque masks at each corner, lending a whimsical touch to your dinner spread.
French Silverplate Meat Trolley
Antique sterling silver pieces are always a great way to surprise your guests with an elegant touch. If you’d like your guests to walk away feeling like they’ve just enjoyed a five-star French meal, this meat trolley is the perfect serving piece for you. It was made for and used at the world-famous Hôtel Ruhl in Nice. Designed by the Belle Époque architect Charles Dalmas, the Neoclassical Ruhl was outfitted in the tradition of the grand hotels of the 1920s and 1930s. At its height, the hotel attracted celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though it closed in the 1970s, it still maintains legendary status as one of history's great luxury hotels in the south of France.
This trolley would have been right at home in the glamorous hotel. Raise the lid of the trolley to reveal a generous serving area with wells for au jus and other sauces. The removable serving surface may be heated by the burner below, ensuring the meat stays warm throughout the meal.
Emperor Napoléon Plate Warmer by Biennais
While your meat trolley keeps your main dish warm, you should also remember your sides. This plate warmer offers an easy solution. It is designed to hold hot water, so that any dish that is placed on top of it remains warm after serving. This example is further set apart by the fact that it was made for the table of the French Emperor Napoléon.
Fine antiques like silverware and dinnerware can add a touch of elegance to your dining table. However, it's important to know what food not to serve in silver as certain foods can cause damage to your precious antique pieces. Foods high in salt, vinegar, or lemon juice should be avoided as they can cause tarnishing, discoloration, or even corrosion to your antique silverware. Stick to serving neutral foods like cheese, fruit, and desserts on your silver platters, and reserve the more acidic dishes for serving on other dinnerware. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your antique silver remains in excellent condition for years to come and becomes a cherished family heirloom.
M.S. Rau offers a number of culinary antiques to bring your next dinner party to the next level. From hand painted tea sets to antique cooking utensils, come and explore our fabulous collection. Contact your sales consultant today to find the perfect piece.