Behind the Lace Curtains-Tuesday Table Setting No. 41, Italian Villa by Home Trends, 2020 Table Setting Challenge #1

Monday is the only full day off I have during the week, so it only makes sense to set the table and cook a beautiful meal on that day. The first Monday of 2020 also happened to be Epiphany, the day the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem to see Baby Jesus. It's a Feast Day, and in my home, many Feast Days and Holy Days are observed throughout the year.

The day before, I had made a big pot of spaghetti sauce and decided to make a layered casserole (some call it lasagna, but this recipe does not use the proper ingredients for the white sauce, so to save myself from the glaring eyes of every Italian nonna who has ever lived, I will call it a layered casserole!) for Epiphany. And, in the Italian spirit, I decided to use Italian Villa dinnerware, which is also currently my everyday dinnerware.

The set was manufactured by Home Trends and is made in China. According to Replacements, Ltd., it was made from 2005-2012. I bought mine at Wal-Mart. Reviews on the website were mixed at best, but all had a common complaint: the dinnerware chips easily. And, no matter how gingerly I have handled it, the reviews are correct, so at some point I will need to do some repair work on some of the pieces, or try to find unmarred ones in the wild. While the set was not all that expensive to purchase initially, prices are quite high to replace missing or damaged pieces, both at Replacements, Ltd. and eBay. So, if you decide to purchase this pattern, please beware!

The set I have consists of a boxed 16 piece set which includes 4 each: dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, soup/cereal bowl and coffee mug. There is a 10" vegetable bowl (low), an 8" vegetable bowl (high), a 17 1/4" rectangular baker, a long, narrow 16 3/4" rectangular tray, and a set of 4 coasters. There were also vinyl placemats I wanted to buy, but the Wal-Mart here had them but they were incredibly warped; I didn't think I could ever get them to flatten out, so I regrettably didn't buy them. Replacements also lists a set of 3 canisters and a 17 1/4" rectangular tray (like the 16 3/4" one), which will eventually be added to my collection-and hopefully 4 of those placemats, unwarped! 🙂

The shape and pattern is very pleasing, with a gentle scalloped edge, and the pattern being scrolls and trim in a mocha brown color, some red berries and leaf patterns, and 3 shades of yellow as the base.

The tablecloth is a hemstitched linen look one I bought at Wal-Mart, along with matching napkins. I chose Noritake's Provincial water goblets in Brown for the stemware (thrift store), and the flatware is my everyday set. The manufacturer is Fifth Avenue Stainless and is made in Korea. I purchased the set at Woolworth's when I moved into my first apartment in 1991, but I don't have the pattern name and searches are coming up with nothing. Which is too bad, because I'm missing a dinner fork (more on that later) and would like to replace it! The centerpiece consists of a pair of Spanish candelabra (formerly wired for electricity, thrift store) with the 10" low vegetable bowl. Fiesta P86 Yellow bulb shakers (Dillard's in Helena, MT) and a cute small GurglePot in Gold join the table to finish it out. The feel is Mediterranean in the summertime, perfect for a cold, winter's day in northcentral Montana.

On the menu was: tossed green salad with Ranch dressing; Easy Party Lasagna; warmed Italian bread with butter and garlic powder; and berry trifles for dessert. The berries were macerated in a little bit of sugar and Grand Marnier liqueur, and the Grand Marnier was also added to the whipped topping. The berries were layered with torn shortcake dessert cups and the whipped topping. I like to serve a light dessert such as this after a heavy meal like casserole. The trifles were served in Tawny Accent goblets by Libbey Glass Company.

Italian Villa, 2020 Table Setting Challenge #1

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