There’s something special about carefully setting out your best silverware on your dining table when you're expecting guests for supper — a fact that's especially true during the holiday season. With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, we've begun to think about all those little finishing touches that will make our feasts and festivities that much merrier. But who's to say we have to wait? If you ask us, life’s too short to only use our best utensils for company. If you feel like we do and want to put your best flatware forward on a more regular basis, we've got you covered. Below, find 12 stellar silverware sets you can use whenever the fancy strikes!
What is the best silverware?
The best cutlery for daily use is typically made of stainless steel. Though silverware can be crafted from metals such as aluminum, these tend to rust and are not as durable as the old steel standbys. Higher-end options may also be made from more precious metals, such as gold and sterling silver, but prices for 925 silver utensils (those that are made from at least 92.5 percent real silver) can start from $150 for a single spoon.
Those shopping for stainless steel cutlery will likely come across the following descriptions: stainless steel 18/0, stainless steel 18/8, and stainless steel 18/10. The first number depicts the percentage of chrome found in the product, while the second number represents the percentage of nickel. For a heavy-duty, rust-free, stainless steel product with plenty of corrosion resistance, opt for the highest level of nickel — 18/10.
When it comes to cutlery, most collections are comprised of your basic dinner forks, spoons, and knives. Fully comprehensive sets might also include separate forks, spoons, and knives for different meal courses, as well as serving utensils, such as ladles or butter knives.
How to Place Silverware
While you can, of course, place your eating utensils any which way you like, be it on the plate, wrapped in a napkin, or upright in a glass, fans of proper protocol can follow these five easy steps below from the etiquette gurus over at The Emily Post Institute to create a table placement that will rival a royal butler’s.
1. Forks go to the left of the plate, with knives and spoons on the right.
2. Knives are placed with the blade facing the plate.
3. Eating utensils should be placed in order of use, working from the outside in
4. Only set out the utensils that will be used (i.e., there's no need for a dessert fork if you’re serving chocolate mousse).
5. Dessert spoon and dessert forks should be placed on the table horizontally at the top of the plate, with the spoon on top and the fork underneath. The spoon head should be angled toward the left, while fork prongs should face the right.
To recap, if you’re serving soup, salad, a main course, and cake — in that order — the table setting, from left to right, would go: salad fork, dinner fork, plate, dessert spoon (placed horizontally above the plate), dessert fork (placed underneath the dessert spoon), dinner knife, salad knife, and soup spoon.
To completely floor your guests, you can also set a small bread plate above the forks with a butter knife resting diagonally across its width. Glassware should go above the knives on the righthand side.
How to Polish Silverware at Home
To ensure your cutlery stays in tip-top shape, dry items well after washing. You should also give them a quick polish when taking them out of the dishwasher and before putting them away. To get them extra sparkly, you can soak them in a basin of water and white vinegar mixture (one part vinegar to eight parts hot water) every few months. Leave them in the solvent for a full 10 minutes before giving them a quick rinse under the tap. To finish them off, wipe them well with a clean lint-free dish towel.
Before you get to cleaning, however, you'll need to find your perfect set. We’ve selected 12 of the most stylish, durable cutlery collections on the market to suit every style, requirement, and budget. Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the best silverware sets.
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