Eating outdoor is the very essence of spring a delightful pleasure that recharges my batteries. Every spring time I’m looking forward to eat outdoor and as soon as the weather is mild, I eat on my terrace or outside in the garden.
Either if I have a Sunday lunch in the garden, a Spring family celebration or sip an aperitivo on the terrace, I have learnt that there are recipes that can really make the most my of your outdoor experience.
As I already wrote somewhere in this blog, eating is a sensual experience that involves all the senses.
I do not know exactly why, but food looks and tastes better outdoor: colors are more vivid, spells are cleaner, flavors are purer, and the eating experience is more satisfiying.
Set the table in a hot but shady spot. Consider the path of sunlight and get a sense of where shadows go.
If eating dinner outside, try to create the right illumination as the sun sets: use candles, hurricane lamps, old lanterns etc to add a feeling of sparkle and warmth to the table and all around. Consider that you might need wind proof light.
Personally, I’m scared of fire hazard. I love candles (who doesn’t like candles?) but I always try to protect them from any risk of flip over and give fire all around.
When eating al fresco, you are already surrounded by colors and perfumes. Keep your tablecloth and tableware neutral, or combine the table color with the environment: blue or aqua green if you are by the sea or by a pool, green if you are in a garden, yellow and red if eating outside in a warm autumn day. Combinations of color will be so important for the pleasure of the meal!
On hot summer days, be plenty of ice: it will be useful to chill wines, butter curls and fruit etc…
Create informal centerpiece with seasonal flowers, fruits, stones, seashells whatever matches with the environment. Remember that centerpieces should not be tall, so they do not obstacle sightlines across the table. Eating outdoor can be much more casual than when we eat inside: you can arrange centerpiece with herbs of your garden (rosemary and sage for example) or use some round stones to décor your table. Writing guest’s names on small stones with a permanent marker is a cheap and everlasting way to create windproof place cards.
While deciding the menu, be strategic: chose a selection of recipes that can be prepared in advance or baked and reheated, and avoid food that requires an instant serving. You will be able to relax and enjoy together with your friends.
Flys, bees etc are attracted by certain foods. Avoid fish, crabs, shrimps and any food that attracts bees and flys… In any case if you have net food covers or food umbrellas use them! They will solve the problem of fly infestation.
Mosquitos and bees can be a problem not only a boredom. Have some repellent around can be a good idea! Use Lemony candles or Cytronella candles to keep them away.
If having a sort of aperitivo, or a sort of cocktail party and you do not intend to set the table, and do not want a formal atmosphere, masons jars to go can be a really good option to serve drinks. Write your guest names on the jars and close them with their lid. These have been produced with a hole in the lid… but if you have old lidded jars to use, it will be even better, you can turn them into spilloff proofed cups simply doing a hole in the lid with a drill and push a rubber grommet on the hole to surround the sharp edges.
Ah, the last but not the least advice! Take a look to the weather forecast!