Tuesday, October 11

It's Fall But Cheers To Al Fresco Dining, Plus Six Top Tips for Fall Entertaining

dining in Parma, Italy
~Al fresco dining~
There is something in the air, a convivial sensibility that makes us want to eat on the sidewalk of restaurants and watch the people as they pass by.   According to Wikipedia, Al fresco dining is 
"a style of dining that is casual and often party-like in its atmosphere." 
Having just returned from Italy where dining outside is a part of the country's fabric, it had us musing about this concept.  Sipping Campari or cappuccino while nibbling on a meal is a daily routine in Europe, and even here in New York City during the summer months.  As we head into Fall in the Northeast, our Al fresco options dwindle a bit, so today, let's celebrate and discover/uncover the beauty of Al fresco dining in our home.  

It's important to note that during these early days of Fall, Al fresco dining can still be a viable option, and especially in our own home when inviting guests for dinner.  With views of the fall foliage and greenery, taking in the autumn smells and maybe even basking in the warmth of heat lamps can be a wonderful way to start a meal with guests.  Let's relish in those small moments as they slip away into the colder season. 

under our pergola in East Hampton
Today, after we take a trip to the apple orchard to pick fall bounties, we plan to invite guests over for an early dinner outside and under the pergola.  There will be homemade apple pie, and as the sun sets we may take the party indoors in time for dessert, but weather permitting, we are certainly beginning outside!
fall entertaining in east hampton
Nest by Tamara six top tips 
for entertaining Al fresco this fall:
photo via Blackberry Farm
1. start with large platters of nibbles, Italian style.  A plate of prosciutto, salami with chunks of aged parmigiana cheese, ricotta cheese, maybe olives and a glass of Champagne can set the tone and start the party on a festive note.  
adventures at the Milk Pail, Watermill Long Island
2. set your table with pumpkins & fall produce as decoration--Take advantage of the bounties of the fall season by setting your table with a cornucopia of natural items, pumpkins and other in-season beautiful produce. 
3. keep the table decor casual but colorful and beautiful--no white plates! table runners instead of full table cloths, short glassware instead of tall stem glass, use interesting chargers and plates but no formal place settings.  This is time for fun, colorful and delicious plates and glassware--color, color, color!

4. serve the meal "family style" keeping with the casual, relaxed feel.  In the fall, I like to make one pot meals--a hearty slow cooked roast with vegetables is a good example, then I plate in large deep platters and serve.
our fall patio, East Hampton
5.  drape sweatersthrows and pillows on guest's chairs to cozy up if weather is a tad chilly!
6. use name cards--no matter how casual, I always find it special to have a seat waiting for me.  With a name card, this puts guests in a festive mood.
more fall tables we love...
sources for these photos
 via  Under The Pergola board 

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara