How to organise Al Fresco eating in style and comfort

Al fresco dining can be one of the highlights of the summer. We have listed a few points to remember when entertaining outdoors.

If you’re entertaining during the heat of the day, remember not everyone will want to bake in full sunlight, so locate your table in shade under a tree or a beautiful parasol. Eating outdoors doesn’t mean uncomfortable, bring some of your indoor furniture outside – we’re a big fan of bringing the lamps out in lovely weather! Think carefully about the logistics of saving the food and drink – minimise the number of journeys you must make back and forth to the kitchen. Set a spare table up outside. Large trugs can be used to cool wine and beers – be mindful of loose bottle labels when wet. Fill jugs of water with ice and add a twist of lemon and mint – this will help keep guests hydrated whilst looking a bit more interesting than just water. Entertaining at night: think carefully about lighting. You can use fairy lights or LED light strips to illuminate your house or trees in your garden. Mood enhancing options can be tea lights in pretty holders or paper lanterns. Self- charging solar garden lights can be a stable alternative for those breezy nights. Don’t forget to hook up your speakers outside, pipe through some Balearic beats to create a cool and relaxed start to the party and then as the evening progresses, you can play with the volume to get everyone kicking off their shoes and dancing barefoot on the grass. Now you have your table all set and looking beautiful, it’s time to think about the menu. Don’t worry yourself about choosing elaborate meals: keep things simple and easy. You don’t want to miss out on the fun! Try creating a menu that can be prepared in advance and will require minimal attention once guest arrive. Utilise the best of the summer food; grilled bream or bass, marinated salmon prawns, grilled lamb, steaks; fresh salads with pomegranate, blue cheese, apple; fresh fruit with mint, meringues dressed in fresh cream. Don’t be afraid to cook inside the comfort of your kitchen and serve guests at the outdoor table, BBQ’s can be difficult to manage – opt for a large Paella or bowls of pasta. Serve a welcome drink that you can pre-mix, something like a gin garden which can be served in a flute garnished with thyme or rosemary from the garden. Cheers, enjoy the sound of laughter and glasses clinking…  

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