Food and Drink Etiquette

Girl looking into the distance at a season event

Food and drink at social events can range from an informal picnic or lunch to a full canapé and champagne reception...

Canapés

Always try and eat a canapé in one mouthful, without overfilling your mouth or having to chew extensively mid-conversation. If a delicacy looks challenging or messy, politely decline and wait for something more manageable to come round.

Watch your timing. Only tuck in when you aren't about to be introduced to someone, or are mid-conversation and you're going to have to speak.

Never put something you've eaten off (spoon, skewer, etc)  back on a tray that is still circulating. Equally, never double dip a half-eaten canapé in a communal sauce dish.

Top Tip: it may be tempting to take plenty to line your stomach, but remember that it is very poor form to take two.

Champagne

Open the bottle gently without shaking to avoid spraying the champagne everywhere. Peel off the foil and slowly unwind the cage which keeps the cork in place. Ease the cork off by keeping a light hold of it while twisting the bottle slowly.

Have some champagne flutes waiting underneath and pour straight into them. Don't fill them more than two-thirds full though. The tall narrow shape of the flute will preserve the bubbles. Hold it at the stem so your warm hands don't affect the champagne.

Champagne should be served chilled so sit an opened bottle in an ice bucket in between refills.

Top Tip: champagne flutes must be scrupulously clean - any trace of washing-up liquid can cause the champagne to lose its fizz.

Season Event Picnics

Providing easy to eat treats - finger food and ready-cut portions - makes for more delicate table manners. Provide classic British summer delicacies (asparagus, smoked salmon, strawberries), to be elegantly nibbled with minimal mess. Ensure that white wine, rosé, champagne or beer is served chilled.

Table and chairs are a must for the formally dressed (especially when entertaining guests).

Top Tip: special touches make all the difference - table linens, proper wine glasses and champagne flutes, willow picnic basket with leather accents.

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