With the recent heatwave and more forecast to come, many people will be making plans to eat outside this summer. Mike Hardman, from kitchen supply providers Alliance Online, offers his advice for planning a meal out in the sun.
What better way to celebrate summer than by gathering all your favourite foods, friends, and family members together in your garden? An alfresco dinner party is the perfect modus operandi, and the best part is that for a truly relaxing and indulgent experience, you’ll need a small amount of pre-planning to pull it off.
So, below are some top tips for hosting an alfresco dinner party to celebrate the summer that your guests will love.
Serve your food family-style
On a lazy summer day, people just want to eat, drink, chat and relax. Set all your dishes out on a dressed table so that your guests can help themselves for a more relaxed social feel — this will also look very tempting to your guests and they won’t be able to resist taking pictures for Instagram.
Cold food can be artfully arranged on serving platters and boards, whereas freshly cooked food will need to be kept hot. Look for oven-to-table dishes made from cast iron or porcelain, as they can be taken straight out of the oven to the table and help keep your home-cooked dishes sizzling for longer.
Perfect your cool summer drinks
Cocktails are the perfect drink to enjoy on hot days. Whip up some pitchers of your favourite fruity drinks — with some non-alcoholic options too — so you don’t have to keep making individual glasses.
Some other pitcher drinks you could try include sangria, made with Spanish wine, and punch with lots of chopped fruit. Or, you could opt for the quintessentially British option of a traditional Pimm’s to take the edge off the summer heat. Don’t forget the ice!
As you’re dining alfresco, you don’t necessarily need to have all the correct glasses for each cocktail as long as they look nice and summery. Why not try jewel-toned drinking glasses?
They look great in the sun and are a more versatile option than martini glasses. Just make sure to buy reusable stainless-steel straws and cocktail stirrers that you can pop in your dishwasher rather than plastic, as they are more eco-friendly.
Table-top decorations should be kept to a minimum, so you have room to display all your gorgeous summer food. Instead, choose plates, bowls and other serving equipment that is artfully designed to add style to your spread.
Keep the party going late into the evening by strewing fairy lights, string lights, or festoons around the party area, and adding tealights to your table in glass holders.
They’ll add colour as well as light and help create a cosy atmosphere when the sun goes down. If you can, look for citronella candles as these have the added bonus of keeping bugs at bay too.
The tips in this guide can help you to plan an alfresco dining experience for your friends and family to enjoy — the perfect way to spend a balmy summer day.