The most formal of table settings, the Russian setting, adds elegance, tradition and efficiency to a private dinner party, banquet, state dinner or any other ceremonial occasion. Each course is served individually from the left and dishes are removed from the right as the meal progresses. While the formal Russian setting consists of important rules for presenting all the elements of the place settings, the number of courses and utensils needed determine the actual setting.
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The Russian-style place setting accommodates the Russian style of service, a presentation technique that was introduced to the world outside of Russia by Prince Kourakin. The serving style spread first to France then to England. Russian service, along with the Russian placement of dishes, introduced the idea of serving meals one course at a time. Before that, great platters of food were presented to the diners at the same time and they helped themselves. Place settings for Russian service are laid out in a way that makes it easy to prepare for each new course by removing the top-most dish or the outermost utensil as it is used.
Charger plates sit directly on the tablecloth, followed by a service plate, on which the plates that will be used in the various courses follow. Silverware is placed on either side of the plates, with forks on the left and knives and spoons on the right. Lay them out in the order of use, so the diner may progress from the outside in as the courses are served. Dinner knives are placed with the blade toward the plate. Bread-and-butter plates go above the forks, with the butter knife across the top, blade facing tips of forks. The water goblet, red wine glass and white wine glass are placed above the knives and spoons.