Celebrate With Color: Angie Lhuillier’s Festive Get Togethers

    Extended family ties mean more reason for get-togethers. There are more birthdays or anniversaries on the calendar that subsequently mean a larger guest list. “I’ve been entertaining since I was in my teens. I come from a relatively large family so it was natural that we always have luncheons and dinners together. I learned early on from my parents that entertaining is part of how we share with those with whom you have affinity with,” shares Angie Lhuillier. 

    Home is the ideal venue for Angie although she shares that living in two cities makes it slightly challenging. “I still try and invite my close friends and family whenever I can,” she shares. A weekend in the Queen City, for example, is opportunity for Angie to organize a quick reunion. She likes to have color and texture to create a festive mood. Flowers, flatware, décor are chosen to fit her trademark settings which she describes as “eclectic, fun and full of love and with a touch of heritage.”

    Angie’s tablescapes are colorful with blooms from their garden spread out to resemble a tropical garden. Ceramics from her mother’s collection of porcelain in the form of parrots and monkeys add quirk to her table. Flatware is selected from a large selection in their family’s china cabinet to suit a theme that had organically developed to become part Cuban, part tropical. Good friend Ferdie Salvador who Angie trusts to help deck her table explains, “We had all these beautiful bougainvillea from their garden and other tropical flowers so we decided to create an arrangement that was lush and tropical. This all happened as we were putting together the set up.” The addition of her mother, Edna’s, ceramic and porcelain and dark wood throughout the Lhuilier’s Cebu residence hinted at old world elegance.

    “I love color but not really from flowers but from my collections like Portugese cut vessels and chargers,” explains Angie. Vidro, a glassware brand from Portugal that Angie had just recently brought into the country, is a highlight in her recent parties. The deep color and intricate patterns carved on glassware using centuries-old Portugese techniques add color to her set ups. Angie’s choice of stemware, cutlery, porcelain and ceramics reflect her personality when entertaining. “I always choose pieces with history so my guests can converse about them. I love the stories behind them.”

    Apart from her tablescapes, Angie’s dinners are spontaneous and familial. A buffet style dinner will have her kitchen staff busy whipping up family recipes like the famous lengua and roast chicken. “The highlight of a dinner in Cebu, of course, would be the lechon, which guests always like,” she adds.

    As soon as the first bottle of bubbly and the family’s favorite Chateau Larose and Ruinart Rose are poured onto the colorful Vidro glasses, cocktails commence. This is a time when Angie’s guests warm up for a night of conversation and good fun. “I normally serve a selection of cheeses and cold cuts with our version of dips to match the wine selection,” explains Angie. Dinner begins as soon as the buffet table is filled with dishes made following the recipes of the Lhuillier family.

    There are no seat plans at a dinner where everyone is family with the inclusion of close friends. Dinners at the Lhuillier residence are free flowing. One table decked in yellow and blue out by the veranda will draw younger guests together. The formal dining is most likely to be filled with family heads although the elders like to joke, “This is where my table is with the young ones.” Post meal, there are few visitors who head out to the other wing of the property for a tour of Ambassador Lhuillier’s private museum. Meanwhile, Angie’s close friends and few other kin stay out to enjoy more spirits and conversation. This is the time when Angie brings out a bottle of tequila. “Don’t judge me but tequila makes the evening unforgettable or in some cases, guests may tend to forget!”

    Glassware from Vidro is set among fruits and blooms to add color to the tablescapes

    Glassware from Vidro is set among fruits and blooms to add color to the tablescapes

    The 12-seater table was dressed with blooms from the garden, Vidro glassware and porcelain from the Lhuillier's collection

    The 12-seater table was dressed with blooms from the garden, Vidro glassware and porcelain from the Lhuillier's collection


    Guide to Stemware Selections

    Water Goblets

    Make sure the servers are briefed to always make sure water goblets are filled. One way to add color to your dinners, infuse lemon, cucumber and mint for refreshing water infusions.

    Champagne Flutes or Coupes

    Coupes were the preferred type of stemware used in the 30s when bubby was sweeter. A champagne coupe is recommended for guests who like to enjoy sweeter variants or those who want to take their champagne with dessert. Flutes, on the other hand, are more widely used because of its narrow shape sustains the bubbles.

    Red and White Wine Glasses

    Red wine glasses are taller and larger because they are designed to hold bolder and more robust flavors that are mostly found in a Bordeaux or Burgundy. White wine glasses are relatively smaller and may also be used for standard red wines. Chardonnays are best served, however, for stemware with large bowls.

    Text by Bianca Salonga


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