There is a line in the Filipino play ‘ A New Yorker In Tondo’ wherein Kikay tells her mother off, right after she first arrives from the Big Apple. ‘How many times do I have to tell you, not to serve fruit juice in water glasses?’ Kikay of course, did not have the pleasure of meeting Grace Baja, who would have told her that doing so now is actually quite chic.
Grace Baja is fast becoming one of Manila’s top hostesses of her generation. She has carved out a niche for herself through her blog, The Spoiled Mummy, where she shares her travels, finds and recommendations. Her following has steadily grown due to her honest reviews and stories of places, products and wonderful places to eat. She has especially made a mark in the area of entertaining at home with the launch of her line Grace Home which started with candles and home fragrances and has now expanded to carry throw pillows, stoneware plates. We were most recently captivated with her collection of tea sets and glassware as there is a big gap in the market in Manila for such items. We asked Grace herself to share the tips on mixing glassware and how to serve and make the perfect cup of tea.
Q: Please share with us why you decided to get into making tea sets and glasses… we noticed there is a big gap in the market so we are happy to see you have them!
A: I decided to bring these Bohemian glassware and fine porcelain tea sets here to Manila and carry them in Grace Home since I love collecting these kinds of things too for myself. I entertain a lot at home and I find that these two things (glassware and tea sets) leave a good impression on your guests once they are on the dining table!
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of these nice colored glasses here back home and the tea sets I usually find in stores here are from big names / old brands that are either too expensive or too “old style” / traditional looking (ie. not my taste or not my style). On the other side of the spectrum, there are the inexpensive tea sets available here but they are not made of fine porcelain but rather of cheap and poor quality ceramic (a lot of them are made in China) and most of these, I would say do not last long enough or can not be considered as investment pieces or something that you can pass on to your daughter.
So when I discovered these beautiful, handmade and handblown glassware and fine porcelain tea sets that look like art pieces from Czech Republic at affordable prices, I immediately said this is the one we need here back home, this is the one for Grace Home!! (Why Czech Republic, you ask? Even from centuries ago, this country has been known for their amazing skill and craftsmanship when it comes to working with glass and porcelain).
When it comes to your glassware and tea sets, you want something that is not just pretty, but you want something that is made of fine and premium quality, durable, and will last you for a very long time so you can pass it on to the next generations!
Q: Do you mix and match your sets? Please share with us some of your favorite combinations
A: Yes, I love mixing and matching stuff on my table! In fact, I don’t follow any strict rules when it comes to my table setting. I love seeing differences in size, color and height altogether — I think that makes your table much more interesting! And that alone makes for a good statement, a talking piece for your guests!
I’ve always loved the fresh combination of pinks and blues — so yes my favorite combination from GRACE HOME’s glassware would be the Florence and Venice collections.
Q: We also love your glasses. Can you please share with us what beverages you serve in particular glasses? ( can be done as a guide for those who do not know what to use) What are your personal favorites?
A: I really don’t follow any rules when it comes to entertaining or serving guests. I mix and match most of the time! And I simply let my creativity and mood for the day guide me! Usually, I serve my welcome drinks (like champagne) on the tall glasses, the red wine on my deep round glasses, the white wine on my not so deep but still round glasses and the dessert wine or say, the limoncello on the shortest glasses i have. I also have water goblets which are shorter than the champagne, white and red glasses but taller than the dessert glasses.
But again at the end of the day, if you want to serve your white on the tallest glasses, and the red on the water goblet, who’s there to stop you? It’s all about having fun and letting your personality shine when it comes to entertaining at home!
Q: Do you design and create all the glasses and tea sets yourself? Please share your design process with us.
A: I don’t design them myself, as they are all designed and made by skilled artisans from Czech Republic. I do select the pieces myself and decide which ones I should bring back home and sell under GRACE HOME.
Q: What are some of The Spoiled Mummy’s must have when hosting people for tea? ( favorite food, music etc)
A: A) Good combination of guests – more than anything else, this is the most important. You want to have the right kind or mix of people in your gathering. Take note of each person’s likes and dislikes and work your way around it, making sure that the combination of guests will work!
B) Good tea – serve your finest tea! (Mariage Freres, Fauchon, Fortnum & Mason, Basilur, Harney &Sons, TWG, etc or whatever suits your fancy and budget!) and give as many options as you want : red or black or green tea, loose leaf or tea bags, hot or cold tea, with or without sugar and milk, caffeinated and decaffeinated etc, Women love having a lot of choices!
C) Good food – pair your tea with delicious snacks such as : homemade tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, crumpets with butter, tea cakes and cookies, and of course, some fine chocolate pralines and truffles are always welcome!
D) Add a simple arrangement of fresh flowers (no need for elaborate and expensive bouquets) and you’re good to go!
Q: What is the best way to serve tea, in your opinion?
A: I like my tea plain and simple. I don’t like adding anything else to my tea as I feel it’s best to let the flavor of your tea shine on its own! But then again, once in a while I wouldn’t mind having some sugar and milk added to my English Breakfast or Afternoon Tea!
To read more about how Grace started her tea set and glassware line, read more on The Spoiled Mummy:
And for the the latest collection of Grace Home : http://thespoiledmummy.com/2016/10/grace-home-bohemian-glassware-and-fine-porcelain-tea-sets-the-holiday-collection/