Tienda Gourmet

KitchenSmarts: Summer refresh for al fresco tables

As pandemic restrictions ease, socializing and outdoor entertaining take on an extra boost this summer. It’s a great time to refresh your entertaining and al fresco tabletop gear.

Outdoor entertaining is the best time to experiment with new tableware or reuse an old piece of serveware. Chips might be served in small planters. Wildflowers can be placed in small pots. Outdoor dining is more fun when there are many options.

Matching or not, guests will feel welcome at a table decorated with bright new dishes and serveware.

PLATES AND OTHERS

Paper and plastic are recyclable, but not paper. While paper and plastic (recyclable please!) are options, today’s durable, recyclable plates are the best. Outdoor-friendly products are made from melamine, bamboo, and other lightweight materials that look just like pottery or china.

KitchenSmarts: Summer refresh for al fresco tables

Or lay in a set of acrylic reusable Govino wine glasses, with an elegant shape and a smart little thumb notch that allows the glass to sit comfortably in your hand. You can choose from a variety of sizes and colors. They are also reusable and recyclable.

You can transform a table with a set of cheerful napkins. There are many options for paper, but cloth napkins can be used. Cloth napkins can instantly enhance the dining experience in al fresco settings. Simply wash them after each use. You don’t need to iron.

For larger groups, you don’t have to worry about matching all napkins. A variety of brightly colored or patterned napkins can instantly lift a table.

SCENT AND LIGHT

Citronella candles are an essential part of outdoor entertaining. There are many pretty options.

Skeem Design makes a nice selection with delicate insect illustrations on the outside. Yield makes minimalist citronella candles and incense sticks, lightly fragranced with gardenia, eucalyptus and citronella.

Citronella candles come in a variety of scents. Some people prefer a scented candle while others prefer a neutral scent.

Murphy’s Naturals has an expansive line of plant-based mosquito-repelling products which smart hosts know to keep at the ready. There are many options available, including sprays, incense and sprays for repelling mosquitoes.

EXTRA TOUCHES

You can make your guests feel special when the sun sets and the temperature drops. Have a stack of blankets on hand. Consider some buttery soft throws from Bole Road Textiles, handwoven in Ethiopia. Or some Alpaca blankets from the Modalatina store on Etsy.com.

For streamlined, contemporary-looking torches to keep the party going after dusk, check out the Blomus line.

WHERE TO SHOP

There are many options for the items listed above at the larger chain stores like Target and West Elm. It’s worth looking for smaller companies and independent manufacturers if you want your table unique.

Many local houseware shops have carefully curated collections of summer entertaining items. Etsy is always an option. If you’re looking for inspiration, Pinterest and Instagram are great places to start.

And now I have to pitch flea markets and tag-sales, where you can often find whole sets of dishware or funky serving bowls or vintage linen napkins.

Go forth, entertain! These summer nights will soon be warm memories. Let’s grill while we can.

Katie Workman provided this image. It shows colorful bamboo plates, bowls and wine glasses as well as a wine chiller and a throw to keep bugs away. These are just some of the many ways that you can enhance your outdoor entertaining this summer. (Katie Workman via AP)

As pandemic restrictions ease, socializing and outdoor entertaining take on an extra boost this summer. It’s a great time to refresh your entertaining and al fresco tabletop gear.

Outdoor entertaining is the best time to experiment with new tableware or reuse an old piece of serveware. Chips might be served in small planters. Wildflowers can be placed in small pots. Outdoor dining is more fun when there are many options.

Matching or not, guests will feel welcome at a table decorated with bright new dishes and serveware.

PLATES AND OTHERS

Paper and plastic are recyclable, but not paper. While paper and plastic (recyclable please!) are options, today’s durable, recyclable plates are the best. Outdoor-friendly products are made from melamine, bamboo, and other lightweight materials that look just like pottery or china.

Certified International has some cool melamine choices, including their Medallion line, which has a cheery floral pattern, and comes in both cool and warm colorways. A creamy French Country line is also available with sweet embossing around the edges.

Tag Living makes all kinds of bowls and plates in colors and finishes reminiscent of ceramic pottery (truly, you might be surprised when you lift one and find out how light it is!). Fable has a series of lightweight bamboo plates and bowls with clean lines in a variety of shapes and colors; pick one hue, or blend different ones.

There are many options for servingware. I love my set of lightweight Bamboozle nesting bowls in pastel, candy-like colors; the various sizes are perfect for salads, chips, piles of cherries, dips, what have you. They are made of biodegradable bamboo fiber and can be washed in the dishwasher.

Fortessa makes melamine serving dishes in that fun, speckly, camp enamel pattern, only – hey! It’s made of melamine and is perfect for outdoor dining. Ekobo makes recycled bamboo-fiber serving trays in cheery summer colors like lemon yellow or lagoon blue.

Drinks-wise, Vinglace makes modern-looking wine chillers that keep that rose or sparkling wine icy (choose from colors like navy and sea glass). You can also check out their stainless steel insulated wine glasses and tumblers, which have glass inside for cold drinks with no metallic taste.

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