Let’s do alfresco!

Let’s do alfresco!

Innovative ways to take the fine art of dining outside of the dining room

By Kari Heron

Published: Fri 13 Dec 2013, 3:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:38 PM

Winter in the UAE marks the resumption of outdoor living and with lifestyles as fabulous as those enjoyed by so many residents, entertaining tops the list for the season. Having spent the summer inside, most of us are dying to catch up on our super low Vitamin D levels during the day and enjoy the fresh chill of the air at night. Whether you are the one entertaining, the invited guest, or doing it solo, here are a few ways to soak up some fresh air at mealtime. Let’s dine alfresco!

Pack a beach picnic

As an island girl, I am partial to the beach. So a lovely beach picnic sums up my ideal way to spend the entire day outdoors. Make or buy your favourite dishes and keep them in insulating containers. Don’t forget to pack hats, a huge beach umbrella and a large mat as well. An igloo with ice is a must, as well 
as chilled water and other beverages of choice.

Go for a boat ride

Now this is taking a regular beach picnic and kicking it up a few notches. By far one of my favourite ways to enjoy being outdoors, being on water is the stuff Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous are made of. Take along some bubblies, fruit kebabs and other simple but elegant canapés for added finesse. Whatever you do, bring water and wear long wearing lipstick so you can still look fabulous in your Instagram and Facebook photo after hours of snacking.

Party at the park

TABLE FOR FOUR: Enjoy tea time with your family in the patio or balcony

If you are dying to entertain but do not have the space, get creative! Take it to the park. You can either do all the food and drinks yourself if you like to do all the work, or you can make it a potluck and tell everyone what to carry so that you won’t have all rice and no meat. Bring games for adults and children and food to last for hours. A portable grill is very useful since the parks barbecues are always nabbed by smarties who actually have people assigned to hold spaces ahead of the arrival of the rest of the party.

Have tea on the patio

If you have a patio or even a balcony, why not entertain there? Get mini cupcakes, make scones and source some really great homemade jams from one of the artisans at the Foodie Friday Market. Get some clotted cream and score a selection of fine teas from Galleries Lafayette. It’s time to dust off your fine bone China tea set.

Bring the dining table outside

We’ve all had countless backyard barbecues but a sit-down dinner under the stars is a rather special affair. Be sure to get lots of votive candles and even citronella torches to add mood lighting and even keep pesky bugs at bay. This is casual elegance at its finest. Even a rustic old dinner size outdoor table will do.

Cheese and pairings tête-à-tête

There is nothing more romantic than a selection of great cheese perfectly matched with grape varieties… just for two. Artfully arrange a cheese platter and select some great jazz music for an evening to remember. A lovely comfortable sofa for two or even two large floor cushions placed outside and a coffee table are all you need. Tea lights add extra sparkle.

COOK UP A STORM: Pack up fresh ingredients and a portable grill to have your own little party in the park

Breakfast at sunrise

It ends at the beginning. The morning after the night before. Now this is the scene you see in the movies. Forget the typical breakfast in bed. Take the coffee, eggs, toast and jam and paper on the patio or balcony for a relaxing and rejuvenating start of the day. Simple is best for this as you don’t want to have to spend hours in the kitchen making this meal. Furthermore, it is more about the presentation and the location. Be sure to make it your best quality coffee (or tea if you please) and a copy of the newspaper topped with a single rose is a stroke of genius.

TIP: When planning a picnic in the park, ensure you carry extra trash bags so you can wrap up and throw away all the trash once you’ve finished your meal.

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