Whether cooking an intimate meal for two or hosting a multi-course dinner party, you can easily elevate the ambience and dining experience through strategic use of wine and scented candles. Thoughtfully incorporating these elements transforms an everyday dinner into a memorable, indulgent affair.
One of the keys to creating atmosphere is establishing the mood through sensorial cues. The aromas from wine and candles foreshadow the meal ahead, building anticipation and excitement for the flavors and conversations to come. As guests arrive, welcome them with a glass of aromatic white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño. The crisp citrus and green fruit notes stimulate appetite while encouraging relaxed social interaction before sitting down to eat.
For candle selection, think seasonally – fruity peach or grapefruit scents for summer, warm pumpkin spice and apple in autumn. Place the lighted candles in areas where they can infuse the whole dining space. For example, arrange taper candles on a sideboard or scatter pillar candles down the center of the table.
During dinner, craft wine pairings to complement each course. With appetizers, serve an elegant sparkling wine – the effervescence cleanses the palate between bites. Acidic whites like Pinot Grigio balance salads and seafood dishes. Meat entrees call for medium bodied reds like Merlot, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec pair beautifully with roasts and burgers. For cheese courses, try honeyed dessert wines like Port to accentuate the flavors.
Make sure to have candlelight illuminating the dining table itself. The soft, flickering glow casts a beautiful ambience over dinner conversation and wine sipping. It also flatters food presentation – colors and textures pop in the delicate light. Avoid strongly scented candles at the table itself which can compete with food aromas. Opt for neutrally fragranced taper or pillar candles, or embrace the theme with wine-inspired scents like blackberry Merlot or pear Chardonnay.
Elevating your home dining experience is not just about the food and drink. Attention to detail and design creates an inviting, indulgent atmosphere. Adorn the table with fresh flowers, greenery and seasonal objects like pinecones or gourds. Use your finest tableware and linens, add charger plates for a fine dining touch. Play soft background music like jazz instrumentals to complement the candlelit mood.
For an al fresco dinner under the stars, create an intimate tablescape by threading outdoor string lights through tree branches overhead. Surround the seating area with citronella torches to infuse the air with ambient scent while keeping bugs at bay.
Depending on your menu and occasion, personalized menu cards add a whimsical element. List each course alongside a complementary wine pairing for guests to anticipate. For a dinner party, assign each guest a character name reflecting the theme – like 1920s gangsters and flappers, or Greek gods and goddesses. This becomes an instant icebreaker!
Fresh herbs from your garden are a wonderful sensory addition. Arrange rosemary, thyme and lavender sprigs down the table or as individual garnishes. The fusion of food aromas with herbs, candle scents and wine creates a multi-layered olfactory experience.
Don’t forget scent and visual allure when planning decor away from the table too. Greet guests at the door with the warm glow of a lantern containing a crackling candle. Strategically place lighted candles throughout the party space – on the fireplace mantle, windowsills, tucked amongst houseplants.
For overnight dinner guests, make bedrooms feel indulgent by lighting scented candles before they retire for the evening. Try calming lavender, romantic jasmine or the warm sweetness of vanilla and brown sugar. Provide bedside carafes of water along with a bottle of wine and glasses so guests can enjoy a nightcap in cozy ambience.
The mood you create with candles and wine sets the tone for your whole dinner, from first appetizers to final farewells. It takes the event from everyday ordinary to extraordinary. Plus, it engages guests on a multi-sensory level that they’ll always remember.
So break out the fine stemware, stock up on candles, curate a wine selection, then get ready to host an atmospheric dinner filled with great flavors, scents, conversations and connections. With the perfect assortment of wines and candles, you can infuse any dining occasion with beauty, comfort and style.