China has long been at the centre of wedding lists – just look at how much there is to choose from.
Bone china has a pure white translucency, which not only looks fantastic on its own but is the perfect base for all forms of decoration – it really allows colours to shine. It’s also fully vitrified (the surface is made glassy and non-porous) which gives it strength, great durability and chip resistance. You can either save your bone china for special occasions, or use it every day. It’s certainly durable, and often not as expensive as you might imagine.
Porcelain and earthenware
If you’re thinking about alternatives when choosing your crockery, bear in mind that porcelain and earthenware doesn’t go through the same processes as china, so doesn’t have the same benefits. Colours may not be as vivid, and whites can lack the pure translucence associated with bone china. They also need to be thicker in order to have the same strength as bone china, and are not as resistant to chipping. The surface may also be rougher.
When should I use my china?
There’s nothing to stop you using it every day. Bone china is strong and durable so it’s great for regular use. It’s a big misconception that because it is high quality it should be kept for best – its quality means it can be used again and again, so use it for everyday and special occasions. Many ranges are also dishwasher-safe – check this when you’re choosing a range.
What are all the pieces in a dinner set for?
It’s up to you – there are no rules! It’s easy to be fooled by the names of the various products, but a pickle dish or chop dish needn’t be limited to pickles and chops. What we eat has evolved, so think about the food you eat, and the food you serve. What would work best? What do you serve most often? Don’t worry about using the same piece for more than one purpose.
For example, a round chop dish can also be used for nachos, crudités and dips, cake, pizza, cheese and biscuits or cold meats.
Putting china on your gift list
Include a full selection to cover guests and family visits. China is best bought in a minimum of eights – not only does this allow you to cover medium sized dinner parties but also means if one or two plates get broken you won’t be left short.
Bear in mind that it’s good to give people the option of buying exactly what they want – so if they only want to buy four dinner plates, they can, and someone else can buy the other four. Include accessories – imagine serving a roast dinner, and all the serving dishes you might need.