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5 tips for creating a springtime al fresco dining experience at home

Hayley Baddiley from Denby shares her top five tips for creating a springtime outdoor dining experience right at home - bring on summer 2021!

With summer on the horizon, you may be beginning to think of the al fresco dinner parties you would like to host when it's permitted and safe to do so.

Here, Hayley Baddiley from Denby shares her top five tips for creating a springtime outdoor dining experience right at home.

"With spring already here and the arrival of warmer temperatures, you might already be spending more time in your garden. But if you're wanting to start taking advantage of the sunshine, you may be considering hosting your very own al fresco dining experience for your family.

"Here, I'll be sharing my top five tips for putting on a beautiful springtime outdoor dinner party that will make a memorable start to the summer."

If you're feeling inspired by Hayley's tips, then why not enter our April competition to win a set of 4 nesting serving bowls from Denby's new collection, Natural Canvas?  A beautiful and functional set of the most useful bowls these are long-lasting and sustainable, and great for dips, snacks, salad and bread.


Create a theme for your al fresco dinner

Before you begin planning the dishes you'll be cooking up and how you'll present all the food, you might want to consider a theme for your dinner. A simple springtime theme filled with pastel-coloured serving dishes, napkins, and a matching dress code could work well.

Alternatively, you could try something different to nod to a bohemian or coastal inspired style. If you choose boho, you'll want to add extra detail to your table and make the most of neutral-coloured ceramics. For a coastal theme, azure blue serving dishes and nautical decorations will help to transport you and your guests to the seaside.

Incorporate in-season produce into your menu

During the warmer weather, we tend to fancy lighter, more refreshing foods in contrast to more heartier meals during the winter. And with spring being the perfect time to harvest plenty of our fruit and vegetables — including new season asparagus, spring onions and purple sprouting broccoli — it's the perfect excuse to make your dishes as colourful as possible.

With plenty of extra time being spent at home over the past year, you might have had the chance to upgrade your cooking skills, so you could also make your own sauces, drizzles, and condiments — you never know, they may end up being your signature creations!

Make sure you're aware of any dietary requirements of your guests before you plan your menu, as you'll want to make sure there's plenty of options for everyone to enjoy.

Elevate the presentation of your dishes

With Pinterest's 2021 prediction report revealing that search demand for charcuterie boards has risen five-fold year-on-year, your al fresco dinner party seems like the perfect opportunity to give it a go yourself.

While normal charcuterie boards can look particularly tasty, by adding your own special touches that complement your theme, you can impress your guests. For example, instead of laying your cold meats flat onto the board, why not make them into rose shapes? This will pay homage to the many beautiful buds we see in spring and is sure to score you some presentation points.

Cheese is typically cut by guests depending on how much they want, but if you're looking to provide a twist on your springtime platter, you could cut these into shapes— especially if they go with your theme!

Although wooden boards are the classic method to present a charcuterie selection, a ceramic serving platter in a beautiful hue that nods to bright spring colours is sure to elevate your table even more. You might also want to invest in a couple of matching mini serving bowls for any sauces or dressings.

If you're planning a full three-course meal, you could also think about creating a dessert platter full of delicious treats including sponge cakes, fruit, mini meringues, and plenty more.

Plan your dining table

Once you've decided on the menu and how you'll present your dishes, you can begin planning your table layout. Thinking about how you can coordinate your dining table to the theme will be your first port of call.

For example, if you're focussing on all things spring, finding beautiful, soft napkins and stunning tableware will help to create an eye-catching setting.

If you love having a centrepiece, you can't go wrong with some colourful flowers in a beautiful vase. Daffodils, tulips, and bluebells are all popular options so you could introduce some of these to your table. If you prefer to handcraft your decorations, you could think about making your own spring-themed wreath to sit central on your table. Or you could make some mini ones for a creative alternative to cutlery rings.

Consider lighting options

You'll want to stay outdoors as long as possible, so it's important to consider appropriate lighting options. If you've got patio lights, or some outdoor heaters, these will be ideal for lighting up your garden so everyone can continue to socialise, even when the sun goes down.

If you don't have access to some fixed lights, you could think about buying some beautiful lanterns to put pillar candles in. Use these to light up your patio or any uneven ground.

Use plenty of candles and tealights around your dinner table or seating area, to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.

An al fresco dining experience can be very special, especially when you get creative with it. By following my top five tips, you can design an outdoor dinner party to suitably welcome in the spring.

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