Since on Easter Sunday, everyone is already decked out in their beribboned bonnets and springtime finery, celebrating after church with an elegant Easter Brunch is a no brainer. Brunch has always been one of my favorite things. Because it combines two meals into one, it allows me to feel less guilty about consuming things like pancakes, waffles, and French toast, which are essentially desserts, masquerading as entrees. It also gives me license to indulge in a cocktail before 5 o’clock. Need I say more?
When my children were little, and we lived in our hometown, I used to host a large, lavish brunch buffet and Egg Hunt for our extended family on Easter. Nowadays, however, we live away from most of our relatives, my babies are adults, and the Easter Bunny has forsaken us, so we usually go out for brunch. But here’s the thing, currently I really have a hankering for this wonderful orange-flavored creamy, custardy baked French toast casserole that I found in Ina Garten’s book “The Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?” It’s made with challah bread and orange zest and, when smothered in real maple syrup, it’s to die for. So, to satisfy this craving, I have decided to make the ultimate sacrifice this year and cook.
My Easter Brunch menu for my husband, myself, and our two girls will include the baked French toast, sausages, a large fruit salad (just so it doesn’t seem completely unhealthy) and since we are all adults now, I am definitely serving Mimosas.
Now that I have made the commitment to make brunch, I have to think about creating an Easter Tablescape. The foundation for my table is a small vintage linen cutwork tablecloth I placed on the diagonal. For this intimate brunch, I decided to use the antique handpainted Nippon china I inherited from my great great aunt Laura because, with its light blue border and delicate pink and violet flowers, it just looks like Easter to me.
I used light blue napkins, and on each plate, I placed a large white egg, nestled in a bed of moss, inside a blue speckled egg-decorated votive holder that I purchased from Pier One.
I completed the place setting with my grandmother’s silver flatware and my husband’s grandmother’s etched crystal goblets and juice glasses.
For a centerpiece, I created an all white floral arrangement of tulips, lilies, alstroemerias and stars of Bethlehem surrounded by faux grass and arranged in the oval serving dish that matches the china.
I also placed two small egg baskets filled with moss and blue speckled eggs on the table. Crystal candlesticks with white tapers complete the tablescape.
On the buffet, I placed a large glass vase filled with dogwood branches from my yard. I flanked this arrangement with a couple more of the china plates and a pair of urns planted with daffodil greens, eggs, and more dogwood.
Reading over this post, I can already see my kids rolling their eyes at me. They will say, “why go to all the trouble of flower arrangements and fancy table settings when it will just be the four of us for Easter Brunch?” My answer to this, however, is that holidays spent with family are always special and as such, always deserve to be celebrated with a bit of fanfare (and French toast casserole), no matter how small the gathering.
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