I have always done my rainbows differently than everyone else,” explains event and floral designer Angela DiVincenti Babin as she places another bright pink ranunculus into the moss-covered florist foam at the center of a velvet-adorned dining table. The bloom is part of her most recent rainbow iteration—one noticeably devoid of any crayon or marker, as her unique rainbows were originally comprised. But this new iteration is no less impactful than her marker-outlined drawings of kindergarten.
The centerpiece of this Thanksgiving table, made up of an array of nearly 200 vibrant ranunculus blooms, is just the start of the bright details that set this spread apart from others designated for the same holiday.
“We wanted to do something fresh and colorful that draws on the looks of influencers that are popular right now,” Babin says of the table set in the Ozetta neighborhood. “But there’s also elements like the pheasants that bring it back to that traditional, Southern Thanksgiving.”
Striking a balance between fun-and-fresh and tried-and-true was key for Babin. Enlisting the help of local shop Gourmet Girls, she adorned the table with Ginori 1735 “Oriente Italiano” dinner and salad plates in nearly every shade available. By mixing and matching, no two settings are the same. This gives each guest a place that seems specially made for them.
“The look is still fancy, but at the same time, it’s casual in a way,” Babin says. “It’s not trying too hard. It’s unapologetically fun.”
In contrast, matching embroidered napkins from France, also from Gourmet Girls, offer a touch of tradition, hinting at linens passed down for generations.
“It brings that came-from-grandma’s-closet feel,” Babin says. “But at the same time, there’s still a modern touch because they are just embroidered, rather than monogrammed.”
The food is a nod to the nontraditional. Taking the place of turkey and stuffing is a colorful spread of salad, cheese and caviar from Gourmet Girls and oysters from Parrain’s. To wash it down is Champagne from Martin Wine & Spirits specially chosen to complement the Petrossian caviar. The pairing, which you can learn more about on the following page, allows the flavors of the Gourmet Girls-exclusive brand of caviar to be at their fullest.
“It’s something a little chicer and cooler to go with the vibe of the table,” notes Babin.
But the setting would look just as good with a bit of cranberry dressing and green bean casserole. The goal, after all, is to offer inspiration that can be adapted to anyone’s version of a holiday celebration.
“What I want people to take away from this is that it’s fun to show off your own personality and bring your ideas to life,” Babin says. “Collect inspiration, of course. But make it your own. That’s the key.”
Turkey is not on the menu for this lighthearted take on Thanksgiving. Instead, to coincide with the vibrant tablescape, event and floral designer Angela DiVincenti Babin assembled a selection of light fare that keys into the effortless coolness that was the guiding principle for the entire design. And nothing is as cool as a course of caviar and Champagne.
Petrossian caviar from Gourmet Girls was the starting point. Shop owner Katia Mangham brought the brand to Louisiana last year due to its high quality and depth of flavor.
Mangham carries three varieties in her shop: daurenki, sevruga and ossetra. Daurenki is defined as being “for the newcomer,” with a balanced flavor and clean finish. Sevruga—Mangham’s favorite—is a little more refined, with butter and brine as its key notes. And then there’s the ossetra. This variety has notes of dried fruits and toasted grains, making its flavor complex and robust.
“When planning, you want to think of a serving of about a half ounce, or about 14 grams, per person,” Mangham explains. “And most tins are 30 grams.”
Blinis, crème fraiche and capers are the standard for serving alongside caviar. However, Mangham mixes it up with plain potato chips, like Zapps, which she says bring just the right amount of saltiness with an added element in the crunch. “It’s a little more fun and a little more accessible,” Mangham explains.
Like the crunch of potato chips, the bubbles of Champagne add a layer of complexity to the tasting experience. When paired correctly, the drink provides the ideal accompaniment to the fishy delicacy.
“The crisp freshness of Champagne combined with the high oil and saltiness of caviar are a match made in heaven,” says Susan Anderson of Martin
Wine & Spirits.
To complement the Petrossian caviar, Anderson has a trio of pairings: Camille Savès Brut Grand Cru Les Loges, Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée and Laurent-Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature. The most full-bodied, the Camille Savès pairs with the boldest of caviars, like beluga. The Bollinger, a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, is balanced, with a satin-like texture that provides added depth. The most delicate is the Laurent-Perrier. A Blanc de Blancs, this varietal helps to accentuate the flavors of the caviar.
As for how much Champagne to plan for? That depends on the party. But for the sake of broadening horizons, why not try them all?
Design & florals: Angela Marie Events & Florals
Flowers: Flower General by Carlstedt’s
Tablecloths & furniture: Element
Pheasants, plates, napkins, placemats, silverware, glassware & serveware: Gourmet Girls
Oysters: Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
Salad, charcuterie & caviar: Gourmet Girls
Champagne: Martin Wine & Spirits