Dining Al Fresco by Didi Foth

Definition of al fresco: taking place or located in the open air: outdoor, outdoors. An al fresco lunch, an al fresco café, dining al fresco.

One of the things I look forward to most when summer arrives is being able to eat outside. All my friends know that if you make a reservation for lunch or dinner with me, a request for an outdoor table is a must, even on the warmest (or coolest) days. I feel the need to take advantage of every beautiful day since our warm weather is limited here in the Midwest.

My favorite place for al fresco dining, though, is on my own patio. I love sitting in my garden on a beautiful night with a summer menu, a pretty table, candlelight, and a great playlist. Nothing could be better! Over the years I have learned a few things to make the dining experience fun, beautiful and not stressful.

1. Keep the recipes simple: Food always seems easier in the summer. A trip to the farmers market can be the inspiration for the menu. A colorful summer salad and freshly picked local vegetables are perfect to accompany my husband’s pick on the grill. A freshly baked baguette and cheese (from Marché) and fresh fruit for dessert and the menu is set.

2. Bring the inside outside: I love bringing my dishes and glassware outside to set the table. It makes everything feel more special than using paper or plastic. My tablescape is often dictated by what is blooming in my yard. I enjoy cutting flowers and picking the tablecloth or placemats that best match the colors in my garden at the time. (I have Juliska Berry and Thread dishes in Whitewash and these go with any color scheme that I choose to use.)

3. Add some light when it gets dark: Candlelight makes everything prettier! I use candles everywhere while entertaining. Votives, hurricanes and lanterns all create a wonderful summer atmosphere.

4. Make a playlist: Have a playlist set before the evening starts so that it creates the mood or theme you have in mind. Music can get a party started and keep it going.

5. Have a signature cocktail or drink: It’s always fun to have a drink waiting for people when they arrive.

6. Don’t forget the bugs: Make sure to find a way to limit bug bites – citronella, candles, fans, bug spray. Nothing can push people inside faster than pesky mosquitoes.

Enjoy your summer nights entertaining al fresco. It makes summer so much more enjoyable and a welcome memory when the days get colder. Stop by Marcel’s and we can help you set the perfect summer table with beautiful tablecloths, placemats, napkins and candles!

Also, we are having our Juliska Placesetting Completion Event –thru June 30th!
Purchase 7 pieces of dinnerware, glassware or flatware and receive the 8th piece free all month long!

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