Monday, August 10, 2009

Dining al fresco

Maria's email stated; "It's just a barbecue, so really, don't fuss. Just come on over. Can't wait to see you all. Hugs and kisses".

Maria and Lino are the most elegant hosts. Yes, it was a barbecue, but an ever so sophisticated one. 

Upon arrival, a visual feast... orchids floating in glass bowls, the most spectacular manzanita tree dripping with Georg Jensen votives, prosecco on ice, and the most delicious nibblies ever. Triple (who knew) brie cheese served on organic, rosemary, raisin and pecan toasts, drizzled with organic golden honey of the most delicious kind. Believe me, this was simply amazing. And just so we remembered it was "just a barbecue", tasty chicken wings were on offer with the yummiest blue cheese dressing. Followed by a ceasar salad like no other (each half of romaine was barbecued and served as is) with the other ingredients placed on top. Fabulous! Note to self: must get recipe. 

And yes, we had burgers..... Waygu burgers. I have to admit I didn't know what they were, but they were so incredibly wonderful. So much flavour...And the wine...oh my goodness...

Anyway, my point to all of this is that our dear friends love the summer months and the opportunity to dine outdoors, entertain, relax and unwind. They love to spoil their friends and when they do, they consider all aspects of the evening - flowers, decor, drink and food -- even if  "it's just a barbecue".

The long hot days of summer seem to encourage leisurely, decadent dining out of doors. Like most people I enjoy a good old barbecue, just throwing a couple of steaks and burgers onto the grill and swilling back some cold beers. But somehow it seems a bit lacking.

However.... there's nothing quite like dining al fresco in the most elegant manner. 

Wouldn't lunch here be divine? And look at that gorgeous bouquet of nasturtiums ! I wonder what's for lunch ?

It's so luxurious to set a table with the most lovely linens, delectable wines and pretty flowers.....

Oh.... to dine in a field or vineyard with those mountains in the distance.....

I love the hot, spicy colours of the linens and the painted walls. The succulents and cacti remind me of that intense heat of the south of France. Listen.....can you hear the ciccadas ? I'm looking forward to my afternoon siesta in one of the rooms upstairs....

Isn't this a wonderful display of heirloom tomatoes ? They are such a quintessential summer vegetable (fruit ?).

Even breakfast is sophisticated when dining al fresco ! Check out those tomatoes !

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer, wherever you are.

Photos: #1,2and 6 Ariella Chazar "Flowers for the Table"; #3,4,5 and 6 House and Garden magazine


  1. Sounds divine.
    There is a charming little cafe within walking distance to our home, and we occasionally go there for breakfast, or lunch, and dine on the patio under the crepe myrtle trees. Edward is welcome as well, and he enjoys watching the people walk by. It's lovely to dine outdoors!

  2. Dear Pamela, sounds so lovely. And I might add....very romantic !



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