Summer’s in full swing and what better way to fully enjoy the cheerful weather than by spending as much time outdoors as possible? It’s the time of year for outdoor picnics and dinner on restaurant patios! Coming from the Italian language, al fresco means “in fresh air” and can happen anywhere from cafes, pubs, and restaurants to gardens, picnic spots, and your own backyard. So, if you’re looking to host your own outdoor dinner party, we’ve got ideas for your next entertaining meal al fresco style!
Al fresco meals don’t necessarily have to have all the pomp and circumstance shown in home and garden magazines. In fact, the outdoors are meant to encourage calm, easy-going feelings; so lean into that! Floating peonies and gardenias make for a pretty centrepiece. Just pour water into a large serving platter and trim the stems off of each flower—no floral design skills necessary! Paper lanterns draped from tree limbs are charmingly festive and repurposed white Christmas lights provide a magical twinkle effect you’ll absolutely love. Look for inexpensive tea lights and set them in jam jars to get that wonderful boho feel.
Set up tables in separate areas (such as drinks in one spot and dessert in another) to encourage guests to roam. If guests are crossing the backyard to grab a drink, they’re more likely to strike up a conversation as they make their way! As a tip, try to ‘define’ your outdoor spaces. An umbrella not only provides shade but can also help set up a specific area in guests’ minds. Consider setting up multiple umbrellas and mini seating areas if you have space. These shaded retreats also encourage mingling as guests will congregate at the various seating areas.
Lean on Nature for Supplies
Fill colourful pails with straight-from-the-garden sunflowers! If you don’t have a beautiful garden to snip flowers from, consider collecting branches and leaves to stand in as easy table decor. If you find you don’t have enough seating to go around, tree stumps will do incredibly well and really connect with that outdoor al fresco vibe. If you have an herb garden, be sure to use fresh basil or rosemary as a garnish on dishes and cocktails.
Keep Cold Foods Cold
The weather has a big impact on al fresco dining, so you’ll want to keep an eye out on those cold dishes you’ve prepared! Keep your dairy-based dips and any other perishable dishes chilled by filling a large bowl with ice before sprinkling it with kosher salt. Place whatever meal you’re keeping cool on top and it will stay chilled much longer. If you spend a little extra time to grab a clear glass bowl and drape it with a cloth you’ll have a wonderful-looking arrangement.
Let the weather influence the menu as well. If you’re expecting a steamy night, you’ll want to stick with simple fare like sparkling drinks and savoury bites. Serve seasonal classics like salads, fresh fruit, and cold drinks; cooling foods on a particularly hot day is sure to satisfy the crowd. If you are holding off until the end-of-summer when the nights get a little chillier, you’ll want to look into richer foods to get everyone feeling nice and warm.
Dining al fresco can be a great way to enjoy all this season has to offer; allowing you to get together with friends and family while soaking in the warm weather. With these simple tips, you can easily bring together a wonderful outdoor dining experience to entertain everyone! For more tips and tricks like these be sure to follow Mosaik Homes’ blog series.