Warmer weather is always cause for celebration. The Indian summer is notoriously tricky, and there are days when the idea of even being outdoors is unfathomable, but for those golden days when it isn’t too-humid, too-sunny, or too-wet, but, like Goldilocks’ porridge, when it’s just right, then it’s definitely time for an alfresco gathering.
We’re big fans of eating outdoors, and we don’t need much convincing to partake in midday cocktails in the sun. When you have nature as a co-conspirator, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to dress a table.
The key is layering.
A beautiful wood-top table is ideal, obviously, but if yours is less easy on the eyes, just cover it with swathes of light, natural table linens. Keep it easy and playful: a linen tablecloth and soft cotton napkins work perfectly, and we like to throw a cool stripey runner down the middle to really pull it all together.
Add colour and contrast with brightly coloured stoneware and bowls.
Layer on still more colour through a crisp and bright salad, tossed together in a large, rustic wooden salad bowl that’s easy to pass round the table. Put little nibbles, like olives, or crudites, in a selection of glass containers so your guests can pick and mix at their leisure. We love our ocean-tinted recycled glassware for cocktails. If you’re lucky enough to have flowers in your garden, use a few as bright centrepieces.
Self-serve style is the way to go for meals served alfresco.
It keeps things casual and allows your guests to wander and mingle. And then the most important part: relax and enjoy yourself. That’s the thing about eating outdoors, if people are standing around the table, cocktail in hand, and having a chat, it’s already a wildly successful gathering.