Alfresco dining is something that has been gaining popularity in the UK, with eating outdoors on the patio proving to be a hit with diners.
But what is alfresco dining? Originating in the food heaven that is Italy, the literal Italian meaning is ‘in the open air,’ which has been adopted to mean outdoor eating.
So how can you take the concept and apply it to your own home, making it a hit with your family and guests? Here are five must-haves to create the perfect alfresco dining experience at home, that will have your guests green with envy when it comes to your turn to host dinner party night:
Food is first
The first must-have has got to be the food itself. Regardless of how good your outdoor eating area may be, if the food isn’t up to scratch, everything else is irrelevant. Be on the lookout for fresh seasonal ingredients and find recipes that will be suited to the time of day or season.
During the hot summer days, it’s best to have something light and refreshing on the palate, such as salads or some deli meats and breads, while more hearty meals can be the best port of call when it comes to dinner time – firing up the barbecue is always a good shout too. Just because alfresco originates from Italy, doesn’t mean that the food you serve has to be Italian; explore different cuisines and see what tickles your taste buds best.
If you’re going to create your own alfresco eating area, you’re going to need the right furniture. You may want to look at something that’s easy to put away and store. IKEA has a wide selection of folding tables and stackable chairs, so that you can free up space when you aren’t using it. Another essential is to ensure that it’s practical and durable. After all, we all know the British summer is prone to a rain shower, so getting furniture that is suitable for all weather is a must.
Comfort is important too, when creating a space for people to enjoy their alfresco experience. You can always use cushions and throw pillows, which can be stored inside when the dreaded rain makes an appearance.
For bonus points, you can please your guests by having your very own alfresco bar with a separate table or area to store the drinks outside, saving you making constant trips to the kitchen or creating clutter on your alfresco dining table.
Remember the flooring
You can simply use your lawn as the footing for your alfresco garden. But be warned, excessively using furniture on your lawn could wear it out, not to mention if it gets wet your chairs and tables may start to dig into your grass. An existing patio can work, but if you don’t have one, you may want to consider installing some decking. It’s durable, will survive the weather and can mirror the style of your home’s interior, so you aren’t sacrificing style for practicality.
Sound and vision
Many people enjoy alfresco dining for the charming atmosphere associated with it – something which can be achieved through music and lighting. The lighting can give a nice warm and comforting feel, while being able to see everyone and most importantly of course, your food, if you are eating late. The music will create a calm and cosy atmosphere for your alfresco dining experience.
A simple way to get some music on the go this is by using a portable Bluetooth speaker, which will save you having to wire something up from the house. We can’t however guarantee that there won’t be any arguments over who has control of the music or whose Spotify playlist get played, we’ll leave that to you!
Keep your guests warm
Yes, it may still be summer, but once the sun sets and the night-time cold sets in, it can have your guests clambering inside for a coat. Investing in a patio heater or open-pit fire and having some blankets to hand will be more than enough to create that cosy fireside atmosphere as you round off your alfresco dining with drinks and desserts.