Some time ago, Annabel fulfilled a lifelong dream to own a house in the South of France. It is now a regular haunt, with Annabel and her family (including the dogs!) relocating there for holidays each summer. Blessed by the Mediterranean climate and an abundance of local food markets, the dining spaces, and in particular the outdoor dining space, have become the heart of the house. Here she shares with us a few of her tips for perfect al fresco dining:
When you’re on holiday, and catering for a houseful, the last thing you want is to be constantly having to get up from the table to organise things or get supplies. The aim is to be able to settle down at the beginning of the meal with everything to hand so that the whole party, including me, can relax.
So, a good-sized dining table is a must. I’d also recommend having a sideboard or console within easy reach; the additional surface space will be useful for tableware, condiments, serving dishes and other essentials. Masses of trays are invaluable for getting food easily from kitchen to table and a rattan cutlery holder will make short work of laying the table.
If you can stretch to it, a separate set of crockery, cutlery, linen and glassware for your outdoor dining space makes life very easy and you can indulge yourself with a completely different colour scheme.” Our fabulously unique artichoke bowls are just the thing.
Decant wine into simple glass decanters and iced water into large jugs and scatter them about the table or put them on a lazy susan (if you have one), it’s a simple trick but it will make the table look that bit nicer.
Masses of hurricane lamps and candleholders (to provide light in the evenings), and a simple vase with fresh cut flowers from the garden (to add colour and scent) are the perfect finishing touches.
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