August 13, 2012 11:42 am
I love eating dinner outdoors, especially in Provence. The light is so spectacular, the water in the fountain sounds so peaceful and the there is always a light breeze so the smell of the local flowers wafts through the air.
Shirin and I recently hosted a wonderful party in our garden for the Festival d’Aix en Provence in honor of the Opera. The acclaimed soprano, Renée Fleming, and renowned Russian conductor, Valery Abisalovich Gergiev, were among our 80 guests- it was such a fun and festive evening.
1. Mix Summer whites - We used a soft color palette of creams and whites that blended naturally into the surroundings and felt relaxed, not formal. The bright white chairs against beige linen cloths set with off-white plates created a perfect backdrop for the food. We added a pop of color with the plum-colored water glasses.
2. Opt for comfy chairs - We chose chairs with thick, comfortable cushions so our guests would linger longer around the table.
3. Keep the flowers low - We used lavender, roses and other native flowers from the local gardens in Provence. We arranged them in low, clear glass containers so they didn’t block anyone’s view of other guests.
4. Add candlelight - It casts a warm glow over the table and your guests. But be sure they’re unscented, or they’ll interfere with the food. We placed two simple white candles—sans holders—on each table.
5. Serve light fare - It’s Summer, and no one wants to consume a heavy meal. We served lots of fish—salmon, crab ravioli, fillet of bass—and grilled vegetables. We finished off with a delicious dessert of champagne sorbet, raspberry crème brulee and macaroons.
6. Offer a signature drink - Along with champagne, we offered French Bellinis made with fresh peach nectar…a perfect drink on a warm Summer night.