In Italian, “al fresco” means in the fresh or open air. Simply put, it is eating outside. The official start of spring is just around the corner, so who isn’t eager to eat outdoors? We sure are!
Al fresco dining often has a casual yet party-like setting. The décor is typically simple and incorporates fresh flowers and seasonal foods.
We stopped by our local Trader Joes and picked up some potted herbs and wild flowers to decorate the table and any food station. For added depth and texture try adding some small seasonal vegetables in a bowl and scatter some citrus on the table.
When planning your menu, keep in mind that you will be hosting outdoors. Foods that are best served at room temperature or lightly chilled are better options for this style of dining. Some ideas are chilled bean salads, deviled eggs, cool sirloin steak sandwiches, and Mediterranean platters. We found a bunch of recipes here that we think would work great for your next al fresco lunch.
Should you choose not to cook, there are a lot of farm to table inspired restaurants and markets popping up everywhere that you can easily find great options to pick up or have catered.
We weren’t into cooking today either so we stopped by our favorite local café & market, Zinc to pick up some chilled salads and entrees and filled our own pitcher with water, sliced citrus and cucumbers.
Whether you are eating at a table or on the floor with blankets, keep it casual. Sometimes when you just pull together what you have it creates effortless style. Mixed printed or woven blankets always look great thrown together. If you don’t have enough place settings in the same pattern, don’t worry, mixing and matching is what this season is all about.
We love an effortless, mismatched style so pulling together a look with items you already have helps to keep this a budget friendly party. Everything in our tablescape was borrowed from past parties, including our Anthro dishes, gold flatware from Target, and some recycled linens. (find where to purchase our look below)
Our coasters were painted terracotta tile samples that we picked up from our local tile store. Painted tiles make for great coasters. They are inexpensive, so you won’t feel as bad if one of them breaks.
Don’t feel like you have to use your good table settings either. There are plenty of online stores who sell printed paper goods. If you need suggestions on where to buy some unique paper plates and cups, shoot us an email and we will point you in the direction of some of our favorite companies.
If hosting just isn’t your thing, but you still want to dine al fresco then be sure to check out some of the local restaurants in your area that offer this type of setting. We found a helpful link on Open Table that lists the best outdoor restaurants near you. Check them out HERE.
Dining “Al fumo” is at night in the open air.