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Gorgeous Intergenerational Holiday Gathering

In the Connecticut home of Capucine and David Gooding, founders of luxury tableware company Juliska, holiday entertaining is gorgeous and intergenerational

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • John Bessler

    What’s fair is fair. In the Connecticut home of Capucine and David Gooding, their three young daughters are whizzes in the kitchen and their father’s able helpers for Christmas morning brunch. (Their mother, Capucine, humbly admits that she plays the role of kitchen “assistant,” with a mop and fire extinguisher nearby.) So when it’s time for Capucine to implement her magic—dressing an elegant and sophisticated table in the dining room for the adult guests—she makes sure that no one is left out of the Christmas glory. And that means an equally stylish setting for the children to enjoy their holiday meal.

    “Children value and emulate what we do,” explains Capucine. “If you want them to appreciate a tradition and pass it to future generations, you need to include them from the beginning.”

    The children’s table was built around a forest theme and set in front of the living room’s stone fireplace where little ones can easily peer at the tree with gifts at its base. Silver and ceramic creatures mingle among rustic textures such as bark placemats, a striped linen cloth with a chunky weave, and dinnerware that depicts snow scenes.

    The coral-colored dining room takes a grown-up spin with glamorous surfaces. A lustrous silk table-topper and twinkling glassware play up the fashionable marriage of silver and gold on dessert plates. The centerpiece stars coral roses and pheasant feathers. The menu includes mulled apple cider, brandied mushroom soup, arugula and butternut squash salad, profiteroles, take-home cookies baked by the girls, and—as the main course—quiche, appropos for a family that raises laying hens in the backyard.

    The Goodings, founders of luxury tabletop brand Juliska, may be in the business of creating and selling wares used to serve life’s occasions, both simple and extravagant, but the objects have more than an aesthetic and functional value to them.

    “We believe that an inanimate object can have a soul if a lot of soul goes into creating it,” says Capucine. “Christmas is a time to express love and joy, and we especially love to do that at the table.”

    Photography: John Bessler

  • John Bessler

    Capucine draws design inspiration from her mother, Victoria Cameron, who lives nearby. “We adore flowers and do our own arrangements together,” says Capucine of the floral centerpiece on the table.

  • John Bessler

    Passion for Pleats

    Two generations meet at the table: A tapestry-style textile from Capucine’s mother that covers the table is topped with a silk overlay of taupe-colored Dupioni silk with embroidered trim and pleated edges. Created by Top of the Line Drapery & Upholstery (203/348-0000).

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    Holiday Shine

    With varied heights to designate specific contents, stemware lends itself to mixing styles. The textured, mouth-blown “Isabella” goblet from Juliska ( produces brilliant sparkle when teamed with a silver water goblet.

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    Tie a Little Ribbon

    Linen napkins from Matouk ( are embroidered with Capucine and David Gooding’s monogram. Capucine, who collects ribbons, prefers securing napkins with them rather than with rings. Here she chose a gray satin ribbon with a crisscross design and knotted edges.

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    Silver & Gold

    Capucine mixes metallic finishes throughout the place setting. Flatware is vintage Puiforcat.

    Another view is on the following slide.

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    Merry Metallics

    The silver-and-gold “Firenze Medici” salad plate and the “Quotidien” dinner plate Capucine developed for Juliska are anchored by pewter “Scribed Rim” chargers from Match (

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    Ask Me a Question

    Placecards at the adult table serve a dual purpose. Guests’ names are written on one side of the card. On the other side are holiday-related questions to prompt table conversation. All calligraphy is by Pier Gustafson (

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    Grateful Girls

    Made of a canvas drop cloth, a “Gratitude” banner shows those people, places, and things for which the Goodings and their daughters—Lily, Bliss, and Daisy—are grateful. “We hang this each November and keep a Sharpie nearby for our family and guests to write on it until the new year,” says Capucine.

  • John Bessler

    Lovely Holiday

    A long garland of magnolia leaves, Capucine’s fanciful vision, and a few well-placed nails result in a three-dimensional “love” sign fashioned over the fireplace mantel. Gifts wrapped in patterns from Paper Source ( await their recipients under the Frontgate tree ( A vintage red sled topped with sheepskin provides seating at the children’s table. The silver owl pitcher is from Vagabond House (  

  • John Bessler

    Dining Details

    Sheepskin provides a soft place for little ones to sit. Small gifts beckon them to the table.

  • John Bessler

    Color Their World

    Imagination is the key to a successful children’s table. Placecards with whimsical calligraphy supporting the table’s forest theme are tucked into a bundle of colored pencils that small guests can take home after the gathering.

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    Playful But Polished

    A ticking-stripe cloth and birch placemats set the rustic tone for the “Berry & Thread” dinner plates and “Country Estate Winter Frolic” salad plates, both from Juliska ( Napkins embroidered by Capucine’s grandmother add family nostalgia.

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    Make A Wish

    As a tradition in the Gooding home, mouth-blown glass canisters from Juliska’s “Isabella” collection hold holiday wishes from each member of the family. The calligraphy is by Pier Gustafson (

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    Gooding Family

    Capucine and David Gooding sit with their daughters Lily, Bliss, and Daisy.

  • John Bessler

    Mulled Apple Cider

    Kids can enjoy the same soul-soothing cider prepared without rum.

    •8 cups apple cider
    •1 cup dark or spiced rum
    •3 (3-inch) sticks cinnamon
    •1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
    •2 whole star anise
    •8 stick cinnamon for garnish

    In large saucepan combine apple cider and rum. For spice bag place cinnamon, whole cloves, and anise in center of double-thick, 6-inch square of 100% cotton cheesecloth. Tie closed with clean 100% cotton kitchen string. Add bag to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat 10 minutes or until heated through. Remove spice bag with slotted spoon; discard. Ladle cider into mugs. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

  • John Bessler

    Brandied Wild Mushroom Soup

    Serve this soup on a blustery day as a warming welcome sipper in espresso cups or as the first course of a meal. Chef Jeffrey Selden of Marcia Selden Catering ( created the Goodings’ Christmas brunch menu. Pictured: Cups and saucers from Juliska’s “Berry & Thread” collection (

    •1 cup finely chopped onion
    •3 tablespoons butter
    •4 ounces fresh cremini or porcini mushrooms, chopped
    •4 ounces fresh oyster mushrooms, chopped
    •4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed; chopped
    •1-1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
    •2 tablespoons brandy
    •1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    •2 cups chicken broth
    •1/2 cup whipping cream
    •White truffle oil
    •Sea salt and cracked black pepper
    •8 slices baguette-style French bread

    In large saucepan cook onions in butter over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add all mushrooms and thyme. Cook and stir 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Remove saucepan from heat. Add brandy. Return saucepan to heat; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in flour. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in broth and whipping cream. Bring just to boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

    Cool mixture slightly. Transfer mixture, half at time, to blender or food processor (see tip). Cover; blend or process until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. Heat through.

    Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with white truffle oil; top with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Serve with baguette slices. Makes 8 servings.

    Tip: For chunkier soup, puree only half the mixture; return to pot and combine with remaining soup.

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    Winter Salad of Roasted Butternut Squash, Arugula, Dates, Dried Cherries, and Marcona Almonds

    Marcona almonds are a product of Spain. The nut is short and rounder than American almonds; it has a sweet, delicate flavor. Find Marcona almonds at specialty grocery stores.

    For Squash:
    •1 medium butternut squash (about 1-1/2 pounds)
    •2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    •1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
    •1 teaspoon kosher salt
    •1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    •1/4 cup dried cherries

    For Dressing:
    •3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
    •2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    •2 tablespoons chopped shallots
    •2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
    •1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    •1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    •1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    To assemble:
    •8 cups baby arugula (4 ounces)
    •1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
    •1/2 cup Marcona almonds
    •3 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated (optional)

    For Squash, preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard seeds. Peel squash. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces and arrange in single layer in 15x10x1-inch baking pan. In small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over squash; toss to combine. Spread squash in single layer.

    Roast squash 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Add cherries. Roast 5 minutes more.

    For Dressing, in small saucepan combine apple cider, vinegar, and shallots. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until dressing is reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat; whisk in mustard. Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

    To assemble, arrange arugula on individual salad plates. Toss handful of roasted squash mixture over arugula. Drizzle lightly with dressing; sprinkle with dates and almonds. If desired, top with Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings.

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    A Quite Fabulous Quiche

    Bacon, mushrooms, and spinach flavor A Quite Fabulous Quiche. It’s a simple entrée that can be made ahead and kept warm. The pastry shell should be baked just before the quiche and filled while the shell is still warm. If you’re caught for time, a prebaked purchased pastry shell can be substituted—but we love this tender, flaky crust.

    •1 recipe Pastry for Single-Crust Pie (recipe follows)
    •4 slices bacon
    •1-1/4 cups chopped mushrooms (4 ounces)
    •1 small onion, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
    •4 cups fresh spinach
    •1/2 cup sour cream
    •1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    •Freshly ground black pepper
    •Pinch of ground nutmeg
    •4 eggs
    •1/2 cup half-and-half or light cream
    •2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    •6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (1-1/2 cups)
    •1 ounce finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1/3 cup)

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare pastry. Line unpricked pastry shell with double thickness of heavy foil. Bake 8 minutes; remove foil. Bake 6 to 8 minutes more or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. (Pie shell should still be hot when filling is added; do not partially bake pastry shell ahead of time.)

    Meanwhile, in very large skillet cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Crumble bacon; set aside. Cook mushrooms and onion in reserved drippings over medium heat until tender. Add spinach; cook and stir about 1 minute or until spinach is just wilted. Place spinach mixture in colander. Press with back of wooden spoon to squeeze out any excess liquid.

    In medium bowl stir together sour cream, flour, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk in eggs, half-and-half, and parsley.

    Place spinach mixture and bacon in bottom of hot baked pastry shell. Top with Gruyère cheese and half of shredded Parmesan cheese. Pour egg mixture over fillings. Bake in 375°F oven 30 minutes or until puffed and knife inserted near center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Let stand 15 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

    Pastry for Single-Crust Pie
    •1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    •1/2 teaspoon salt
    •1/4 cup shortening
    •1/4 cup butter, cut up, or shortening
    •1/4 to 1/3 cup cold water

    In medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea size.

    Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over part of flour mixture; toss with fork. Push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until flour mixture is completely moistened. Gather flour mixture into ball, kneading gently until it holds together.

    On lightly floured surface use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into circle about 12 inches in diameter.

    Wrap pastry circle around rolling pin. Unroll into 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching.

    Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry even with plate's edge. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry. Fill and bake as directed in recipe.

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    Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate Sauce

    Pastry Puffs:
    •1 cup water
    •6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
    •1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    •Pinch salt
    •Pinch ground nutmeg
    •3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    •5 eggs
    •1 tablespoon water

    Dark Chocolate Sauce:
    •3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
    •1/4 cup unsalted butter
    •1/4 cup whipping cream
    •1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    •2-1/2 cups vanilla (or desired flavor) ice cream
    •Powdered sugar

    For Pastry Puffs, preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In medium saucepan combine 1 cup water, 6 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to boil. Immediately add flour all at once; stir vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms ball. Remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

    Spoon mixture into a piping bag, then squeeze into 1-inch mounds about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

    In small bowl beat together 1 remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water. Dip pastry brush into egg mixture; flatten each puff very slightly with side of brush avoiding dripping egg down puff onto baking sheet.

    Place baking sheets in upper and lower thirds of preheated oven. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffs are golden brown and firm. Transfer to wire rack. With small, sharp knife pierce side of each puff to let steam out. Cool completely on wire rack.

    For Dark Chocolate Sauce, in small microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate pieces and 1/4 cup butter. Microcook on 50% power (medium) for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in whipping cream and vanilla until smooth (see tip).

    To assemble, insert tiny scoop of ice cream through slit in side of twenty-four puffs (set aside any remaining puffs for another use). Place puffs on tray and freeze until ready to serve. For each serving, stack three puffs in martini glass and dust with powdered sugar. Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce. Makes 8 servings.

    Tip:  Or, if desired, in small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and 1/4 cup butter. Melt over low heat. Whisk in whipping cream and vanilla until smooth.

  • John Bessler

    Kitchen Sink Cookies

    As a favor for each guest, burlap pockets adorned with pleated velvet ribbon and glittery snowflakes are filled with “Kitchen Sink” cookies. The treats mix chocolate chips, pretzels, and potato chips.

    •2 cups cake flour
    •1-2/3 cups bread flour
    •1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    •1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    •1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    •1-1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
    •1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
    •1 cup granulated sugar
    •2 eggs
    •2 teaspoons vanilla
    •1 (12-ounce package) semisweet chocolate pieces
    •3/4 cup crushed kettle-style potato chips (2 ounces)
    •3/4 cup broken salted pretzels

    Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl stir together cake flour, bread flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda; set aside. In large bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat 5 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of flour mixture as you can with mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture with wooden spoon. Stir in chocolate
    pieces, potato chips and pretzels.

    Drop dough by rounded tablespoons (or #40 scoop) 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are just light brown. Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool. Makes 48 cookies.