With bars and restaurants closing their doors due to lockdown, fine dining opportunities may be limited, particularly if you’re more au fait with a microwave than a Michelin dish.

Nevertheless, there are a few shortcuts to serving haute cuisine at home that will tantalize your taste buds.

Whether you’re hosting a romantic night in or simply looking for a new lockdown hobby, these are just five simple tips to dining gourmet at home.

1. Set the scene

For the full gourmet experience, deck your kitchen out like a Michelin restaurant. Bring out fine China, perfect your place settings, layout a tablecloth and posh napkins – these will all enhance the look and feel of your dining experience (a bonus if you’re not too optimistic about your culinary skills).

To make everyone feel special, why not make named place settings for everyone? It’s a personal touch that adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

And for an added boost to the atmosphere, add a table display or centerpiece such as flowers or candles.

A pleasant soundtrack will also enhance the ambiance – you could make your own playlist or search around on Spotify for a ready-made mix. Jazz and classical music are considered popular genres for diners.

2. Make it match

Wine is a huge part of fine dining, and if you’re not an experienced drinker, it can be difficult to match the vino with the feast.

There are a few basic rules that can guide you in the right direction – for instance; red wine is better paired with red meats, where white wine is more commonly served with chicken or fish. You can find a few helpful hints online, and remember – this is one area of your meal where it’s worth splashing out.

3. The main attraction

Ah yes! The meal.

The highlight of your evening, a gourmet dinner, may seem like a task for a master chef, but it’s much easier than you might think to create the perfect meal.

Risotto is supposedly one of the hardest dishes to prepare. Still, brands like Riso Gallo produces high-quality rice and risotto products that enable even the most amateur culinarian to prepare an authentic and worthy dish.

And if you’re tight on time or simply don’t trust your own abilities, a few simply will make any dessert look homemade.

First, transport your pudding from the box to a plate. For cheesecakes, a dollop of fruit on the top and some crushed biscuits around the edges will fool your family, whilst a sprinkle of icing sugar or spread of frosting on the cake that extends to the rim of your plate will convince most observers that the sweet treat is of your own making.

Just remember to throw the packaging away, of course – an empty box on the counter is a dead-giveaway no matter how craftily your dish is disguised!

Follow these three simple tips, and guests will be raving about your home gourmet dining experience – bon appetit!