Edible and Interactive Herb Centerpieces by Entertaining Company
We love the high-low nature of homegrown food presentation. The physical low of bending down and tending to the garden—watering and potting plants, re-familiarizing oneself with the earth, juxtaposed with the physical high of the tabletop upon which we arrange, present and serve our garden-fresh food. The result? A fresh, rustic elegance. Herbs are some of the easiest and most useful plants to grow on your own. A sprinkle of fresh basil, thyme, rosemary or parsley always adds a vibrant buoyancy to any dish. Why not incorporate those same summery scents into the tablescape? Inspired by urban gardens throughout the city, we’ve brought to life three distinct ideas for edible, interactive herb centerpieces, all styled with our signature look by our own sales consultant and design specialist Kenneth Woodman.
First and Foremost: Freshness
While we knew we could count on our EC kitchen to have an abundance of fresh herbs from which to choose, we wanted to find a few extra-special items. Kenny took the opportunity to show us around Kennicott Chicago, our local wholesale florist specializing in an array of exotic florals, ferns and other botanicals that give the space an otherworldly feel. Kenny gave us a tour of the urban jungle and found everything we needed to create our garden centerpieces, freshly-plucked.
Fresh and flavorful herbs were at the top of our list, of course. We were looking for those with distinctly familiar scents, garden varieties such as thyme, basil, rosemary, mint, parsley, dill and sage. Going to Kennicott, we knew we had tons of fresh basil, rosemary, mint, parsley and thyme back at the EC kitchen. One factor that helped us select was the menu we planned to serve alongside the centerpieces. With that in mind, we chose Greek basil and rosemary, which were available in the form of mini topiaries—Kenny knew they’d add height and depth to any tablescape. He also grabbed a bunch of classic white dahlias, as well as a single white hydrangea, a fragrant staple of southern gardens.
An Earthy Edible Centerpiece for the Dinner Table
For our first herb centerpiece, we decided to put a warm, elevated spin on the restaurant-style bread and olive oil appetizer combo. Instead of filling our big, statement hammered gold bowl with bread, we filled it with heaps upon heaps of fragrant herb branches, arranging a spread of Italian crackers and grilled baguette slices on the serving platter below. Alongside our savory bread bites and our parsley, rosemary and thyme, we have a simple bottle of red and two corked vials of dressing. One contains balsamic and the other a rosemary-infused olive oil, complete with a full sprig inside the bottle, which helps strengthen the flavor of the infused oil over time.
The idea here is an interactive centerpiece. The small cruets allow guests to grab whichever oils they choose—pure or infused—and pour themselves individual servings for bread-dipping. With these perfectly-sized crane scissors (herb cutters would have worked, too), guests can snip some clippings from the herbs of their choice into their dressing. Kenny demonstrates that here, finishing his dip with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan. The herb centerpiece both looks and smells divine, and it allows guests to totally customize their plates. The communal feel of pulling herbs from the same serving bowl also serves as a warm, communal conversation starter.
An Herb and Flower Pairing
Floral centerpieces are an event staple and white dahlias a classic flower. For this display, instead of using any old green garden-variety filler to make arrangements look more lush, we split the bunch between a set of small bud vases, adding blooms to every other vessel, filling it fully. For the rest of the cups, we tossed in just-cut bunches of parsley, rosemary and basil. Dahlias naturally have a very mild scent, and the addition of the herbs heightens the sensory experience of the tablescape. The finished look? Sweet, simple and classic with just a hint of earthiness. We like that each herb cup contains only one variety—during a dinner party, guests can snip or rip off their own garnishes, if they wish.
A Small-Scale Centerpiece for the Side Table
At a good event, every table is an integral part of the decor. Our final herbal centerpiece is perfect for side tables or surfaces in small areas. We’re thinking dessert displays—from after-dinner drinks like coffee or warming cocktails to batches of oven-baked treats—how can we incorporate fresh herbs? On a simple round marble server, we’ve arranged a few warm, fudgy chocolate brownies alongside a romantic silver pedestal server overflowing with leaves of mint, one of the most fragrant herbs in the garden. The scents of mint and chocolate, a natural flavor pairing, mingle and make any postprandial gathering feel extra decadent and earthy at the same time. The vase of dahlias adds extra visual oomph.
There you have it! Three distinct herb centerpiece ideas for three totally different looks. While these more involved tablescapes are more geared towards events and special occasions, why not incorporate fresh herbs into everyday decor, too? Remember those potted topiaries we picked up at Kennicott? Check out how Kenny styled them atop a stack of books from our library. A welcome sight (and scent!) any time, any day.
Are you as mad about all this rustic-elegant serveware as we are? You just might be in luck! Visit our Entertaining Company Home Store to see what’s in stock.