If you actually want to get into a conversation with guests or listen to a story through to its punch line, a self-supporting setup is the ticket. Paola's table is fully stocked from the start, so guests can make up their own plates and are free to serve themselves again and again.
Credits: Paola designed the Gervasoni Blu hammered silver-plated tray with forks ($729, imoderni). Frittatas are served on stoneware plates ($40 each, Terrafirma Ceramics). A mozzarella roll is on a porcelain tray ($78, Global Table); Photo by Gentl & Hyers, styling by Sabine Tucker, food styling by Anne Disrude