Dining Like A Sicilian

Chyka Keebaugh

One of my favourite holiday destinations is Sicily.

I recently spent a few weeks there and fell in love. The coastline, the people, the food, the colours; all of it was divine, and I loved every second of it. There is something about travelling to a new town that inspires the decorator in me. On our return I became obsessed with recreating that Italian vibe, I guess it’s a form of trying to make the holiday last longer, but I have loved indulging in my inner Italian mama by cooking up one too many plates of pasta and obsessing over geraniums!

My Italian table is all about brightness and fun, bringing the family together and sharing a gorgeous meal full of laughter and joy. Every meal should involve these things; we are so busy at times - with different schedules it’s often hard to pin down every family member for one simple meal. This table setting is meant for the family to enjoy, whether it be for a Sunday lunch or a simple Wednesday night dinner.

It all starts with the souvenir tea towel. Yes, very daggy - bit so bright and colourful I just could not pass them up. I love the idea of turning these into serviettes, with their fun printed imagery they work perfectly on my table. Creating a centrepiece out of old tins and then wrapping them with old Italian tomato labels, even using then washing out local tomato tins work well. Not everything has to cost money; I love the idea of printing out old tinned tomato packaging to wrap around tins. So simple and so effective. You can fill them with herbs to garnish your Italian feast and use them as table decorations. Simply google ‘old tomato tin packaging’ and let your printer do the rest! Filling these tins with geraniums is a nod back to days in Sicily where the streets were lined with these flowers.

Your Italian theme should not just stop at the table & the menu. Offer a selection of Italian wines to your daily or guests. Learn a little about the region your wines are from (google is perfect for that - you don’t need to do a wine course!) and show off while serving. Make up a great Italian playlist to set the mood; everyone will love the attention to detail. Going to a local Italian deli will inspire you regarding ingredients found for meals, offering gorgeous traditional items you can also decorate your table with. I loved that in Sicily you would find a tray full of delicious olive oils, vinegar and fresh herbs available for your to garnish your meals with. A fun idea for your table is to put some potted herbs and scissors in tins along with the flowers, so you cut and garnish your meal. Displaying these amongst your tins of geraniums creates that relaxed alfresco vibe. I also used these miniature tambourines as a quirky feature on the table. Tambourines are a Sicilian specialty, don’t underestimate the gold mine that is a tacky souvenir shop! I love rummaging through and finding the gaudiest of souvenirs which I can put to use on occasions like this.

So what do you think? In the mood for some pasta?

Photos:  Lisa Atkinson, Copyright © Chyka Keebaugh.