Downton Abbey's season four finale will be broadcast this Sunday, February 23rd, and millions will tune in to their local PBS stations to watch the drama unfold. This highly anticipated episode of the historic drama beloved by a record-setting modern-day television audience culminates the season with Cousin Rose's debutante ball. Stunning elegance and noble tradition are in store - with elaborate period gowns, flowers, food, and dancing - as all of the Crawley family's and household's endearing members navigate their various experiences in love and life.
Will Lady Mary leave both suitors with broken hearts? Will Lady Edith quietly leave for Switzerland with her Aunt Rosamund to await the birth of her love child? What exciting elements of surprise await as the American members of the family come to visit?
One thing is certain: a portion of the Crawley family's interaction will take place around a beautifully-appointed dining table, just as it does each week.
Photo credit: ITV, Carnival Films
To heighten the enjoyment as devoted viewers gather for this weekend's season finale, Downton Abbey fans can surround themselves in early-20th-Century elegance by hosting a Downton Abbey Watching Party Dinner. Here’s a little inspiration for a sumptuous and historically-accurate menu to make this Sunday evening's Downton Abbey watching even more flavorful and in-the-moment, plus ideas for creating a special early-20th table setting to completely infuse the gathering with the artistic and design details of this elegant era. Mrs. Pattmore the cook and Mr. Carson the butler would certainly be proud of this Downton Abbey Watching Party!
Downton Abbey Season Four Watching Party Menu
Photo credit: jedecouvrelafrance.com
Gougères - Light and airy, savory Gruyere cheese puffs make the perfect appetizer or accompaniment to a soup course. The cheese is stirred into classic choux pastry just before the pastry is piped onto parchment paper and baked.
Note: Gougères are the light and airy French cheese puffs that Downton Abbey character Alfred baked as he prepared for his entry to culinary school in London.
English Trifle - For ease of serving and maximum visual impact, serve this very-British dessert in graceful champagne coupes. Cubes of sponge cake or lady fingers, usually splashed with sherry or Grand Marnier, are layered in the coupes with fresh berries, vanilla custard, and whipped cream; then garnished just before serving with a swirl of whipped cream and grated dark chocolate.
Beef Tenderloin - from my latest book Celebrating Home
Few entrées compare, much less surpass the opulence of a fillet of beef tenderloin. Its melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, flavor, and elegance on the plate can transform any gathering into a signature event.
|1||3-pound fillet of beef tenderloin|
|1||tablespoon olive oil|
|1||teaspoon smoked sea salt flakes|
|Freshly ground pepper mélange|
|1/4||teaspoon Kosher salt|
|3||large cloves garlic, peeled and minced|
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Tie the roast with string so it roasts evenly. Place it in a roasting pan, brush with olive oil, and season the meat with smoked sea salt, pepper mélange, and kosher salt. Sprinkle the top of the meat with minced garlic and roast it in the oven 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer shows 140 degrees for rare and 160 degrees for medium rare.
Remove the meat from the oven, cover it lightly with foil, and set it aside 10 minutes to rest. Carve the meat and serve with pan juices.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
The Essence of Elegance at the Downton Abbey Table
An exquisite presentation of an early 20th-Century table setting with Downton Abbey style:
Late-19th century and early-20th century china and silver.
My mother's delicate, etched wedding crystal from 1949, reminiscent of the Victorian era.
My grandmother's floral china, Haviland 25th Anniversary cream soup cup and saucer, and silver from the 1880s to 1920s found in antique stores.
Antique damask napkin, contemporary cutwork tablecloth reminiscent of the Downton Abbey era.
Here’s to Downton Abbey and another opportunity to gather around the table!