When the weather gets warm, my absolute favorite thing to do is to dine al fresco. There’s something very European about it. Dining al fresco is also the perfect setting for a romantic dinner at home. I used things that I had in my apartment to turn my ordinary balcony into an outdoor oasis. Since it’s unofficially Summer, there’s plenty of time to dine al fresco. These are some things to consider when you want to set the scene…
1. Pick the perfect location: I don’t have a choice in location since my only outdoor space is the balcony but if you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, it would obviously be where your outdoor dining furniture is located. If you want to pick another spot, I would try to keep it close to the kitchen so you have easy access to the food and beverages. Remember that it should also be comfortable so not in direct sunlight or wind. For all you city folks, my other favorite al fresco dining location is the park (read here). What’s more romantic than a picnic in the park?
2. Set the mood: I dug up Christmas lights from the holiday bin and decorated the balcony. I thought it would be so pretty and romantic when the lights were on. I put out candles and lanterns and lit them when it got dark. I brought all the indoor flowers outdoors. It wasn’t much but it really added to the ambiance. I would’ve loved to have more candles and lanterns, they made the balcony so pretty when they were flickering at night.
3. Serve simple food: I like to make simple food that doesn’t take that long to cook because I don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen. During the summer, I love eating fish and salads so I made a roasted halibut with lemon and olive oil and a arugula salad with tomatoes. If I was having a dinner party al fresco, I would make all the food family style so it’s very communal and casual.