Friday, July 23, 2010

Al Fresco Dining Has Never Been So Stylish

California is famous for its luxurious coastlines and the mild weather that graces the state almost year-round. And while the rest of the country looks forward to the few short months each year when they can entertain outdoors Californians are lucky enough to be able to celebrate outside all year long.

In Italy, dining outdoors has long been embraced as a relaxing way to unwind after a long day. So do as the Italians do and take advantage of the gorgeous surroundings by gathering your closest friends for a stylish evening of dining al fresco.
  • Make the decor divine. Whether you are entertaining on the beach or in your own back yard, it's simple to add some pizazz to your surroundings. Colorful paper lanterns cast a warm glow once the sun goes down. Small, stranded lights also enhance the mood. String them in trees or around a deck to add glimmer and ambiance to your setting.
    You can also use serving dishes to enhance your outdoor coastal decor. Colored ceramic dishes with bold patterns are an easy way to add flair to your table. Don't be afraid to mix and match colors. Red and yellow dishes on a royal blue tablecloth may seem hodgepodge in a dining room, but in an outdoor setting, this look imparts an eclectic, funky charm.
  • Master the art of mood music. Get creative with your music selection. Consider tailoring the music around the type of cuisine you are serving. For an Italian meal, play an assortment of Italian opera compact discs. To keep the mood light and playful, you can't go wrong by enhancing the outdoor theme with reggae music. Or get your guests involved by inviting everyone to bring their favorite CD to the party. Set your disc player to shuffle so that everyone's music selection gets playtime during the meal. It's a simple way to incorporate each person's personal style.
  • Create a stylish menu. Eating outdoors lends itself to fresh, easy-to-prepare foods. And you can add flair to any basic dishes with just a few additions.
    For an Italian meal, a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad is always a crowd pleaser. Drizzle chicken and fish with olive oil and lemon for a fresh, light flavor. And dust colorful veggies with Italian seasonings to bring out their natural flavors.
Whatever you serve when dining al fresco, remember that it is easy to infuse any outdoor setting with glamour by adding a few small touches. Every selection you make will reflect your personal style. And in the end, nothing says style like dining underneath the stars.

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