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Pistoulet, from Pfalzgraff

It’s no surprise that 2010 will see more of us eating at home rather than going out. And it seems the tableware folks are coming to the table, so to speak, with new patterns and colors in dinner dishes to make it all a little more exciting.

Here are a few 2010 tableware trends to look out for…

More ‘wow’ pieces. Gone are matching place settings where dinner dishes vary only in size. We’re starting to see more variety within a place setting, with each piece making a design statement on its own. A 5-piece tableware setting might include variations in shape and a different pattern on each piece.

More personal statements. With dinner dishes, bowls and mugs within a place setting each being unique, there’s more freedom to mix things up a little and pull together the table in our own way. With a wider variety of patterns, we’re also able to pick patterns that say something about ourselves as a person. Call it eclectic or eccentric… it’s all about creating options, or doing things our own way.

Casual looks. A less disposable generation is driving a desire for beautiful dinner dishes they can be used every day… and simpler flatware with less decorated looks (cleaned up a little rather than outright contemporary). Metallic finishes are also being toned down from bright silver to burnished, brushed and hammered finishes.

Folk influences, especially from Europe. From Provence to Uzbekistan, western and eastern Europe are inspiring everything from flowers and fleur-de-lys patterns to embroidery-like stiches and densely packed swirls. Less-known locations around the world are inspiring new decorative ideas that are proving quite Bohemian.

Redefined formality. A more casual lifestyle is entrenched today, but there are traces of a growing desire for a little more formality.  The trend is less about ornate patterns on dinner dishes and more about a growing appreciation for quality and interest in the right way to serve and eat food. For example, we’re spending more time and money finding the right glass for the right wine or beer, the right serving platter… and wine decanters are becoming a must-have for a growing generation of educated wine drinkers.

If you’re like me and you often wonder which wine to serve with a particular food, have I found a helpful tool for us!

Wine sommelier and writer Natalie MacLean has created a Wine and Food Matcher that will help us choose the most complementary wine and food pairings. The Matcher is on her website, Nat Decants. It’s fun to use and there is quite an extensive range of wines and foods included. Give it a try with your Easter menu this weekend.

Natalie’s website has lots of other interesting information about wine as well as recipes.

img_0295Did you know that by 2010, the U.S. consumer is expected to have become the largest consumer of wine on the earth? Even beating out the French and Italians!

This, in spite of an economic recession that’s deeper than most of us can remember. The average price of a bottle of wine trended down in 2008, but not the zeal to drink it (wine sales were up nearly 6% in the U.S.). Instead of going out, it appears we’re buying less expensive wine at the supermarket or discount clubs… and entertaining at home.

I saw the above buffet-wine cellar configuration from KraftMaid at the National Kitchen and Bath show last year and it’s one of the most interesting wine storage solutions I’ve seen… worthy of a kitchen, dining room, basement or den.

I love the combination of buffet or drink serving area with plenty of storage for party supplies, platters, etc.. And what a great wine cellar idea!  For those of us who don’t have room (or enough wine bottles) to merit our own cellar, this is a nice idea… with cool wine storage below and easy-access x-shelf wine storage above.

A nifty idea if you’re in the market for new cabinets or doing renovations to a dining, basement or family room.