Pamela Morgan - Italian Abbodanza Party

You all know how much I love to entertain, but sometimes setting the table can be daunting, even to me. Themes  are an easy way to organize a table setting, but some themes are easier than others!

I wanted to have an Italian-themed party this time around. It’s so cold; I thought that heartier, rustic food was the way to go. I’ll save the lighter fare for summertime. I need me some risotto! Did I mention my OHI cleanse is over?! 😉 Oddly, the menu was the easiest part of the party to plan this time around:


Kumquat Bellinis


Wild Mushrooms Risotto


Osso Bucco

Branzino with Fennel and Fresh Herbs

Farro with Crispy Kale

Watercress and Blood Oranges with Beet Chips, Pine Nuts and Gorgonzola


Olive Oil Cake with Blood Orange Sorbet

Setting the Table

What really was the challenge was the table setting! Whenever I think Italian, all that comes to mind are those cheesy red and white checkered tablecloths. No thanks! Dripping candles from wine bottles? I think I’ll let those stay in the ’80’s!

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 Inspiration from the Past

Luckily, I found a photo of an event I did many years ago for Larry Gagosian. Isn’t it funny how you can forget things like that?? It was one of the most beautiful parties I ever planned!! The tables were decorated with fresh fruits and vegetables, with branches and moss surrounding the centerpieces. It was very lush, very abundant, and very warm. I loved how unfussy it looked, knowing exactly how much fuss in fact went into it! I loved it. I thought that I could recreate it in the spirit of  Italian Abbodanza.


Fruit and Vegetables with Double Purpose

I went out and bought some long and low glass containers and I filled them with real moss. You can ask your local florist for it, surprisingly. I swung by the grocery store and picked up fresh grapes for my centerpiece. Little did I know how many bunches I’d need! I added a few pears to the table to fill it out, but it still wasn’t right. I needed something large and dramatic to fill the void. Well of course, ARTICHOKES were the answer! Artichokes are my favorite, and they are absolutely gorgeous to boot. When I  added them to the table, I knew it was perfect.


To keep things clean and simple, I stuck with a glass and crystal motif for the glassware and tableware. That way, the luscious produce centerpieces could be the star. The final touch were my crystal napkin rings from William Wayne and voila!

Italian Abbodanza!!! The night was just as lovely as the decor. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by the warmth of your friends while enjoying a warming and comforting Italian meal. It truly feeds the soul!


My next dilemma was this: what do I do with all this leftover fruit and and vegetables!? Well, stay tuned for next week and I will let you know!