Perfecting Al Fresco Dining with Rosanna Falconer

 Perfecting Al Fresco Dining with Rosanna Falconer

Warmer days and lighter nights can only mean one thing, British summertime has crept up on us without us even knowing it. That is why this week we’re super excited to have had the chance to sit down (virtually of course) with the phenominal Rosanna Falconer to talk all things al fresco dining.

Rosanna is a lady who needs no introduction (okay, okay we can’t resist)….she is an award-winning digital strategist with over 10 years’ experience in the fashion industry as well as co-founder of FashMash. What is more she has accolade upon accolade stretching from ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the Cosmopolitan Magazine Influencer Awards to being listed in Drapers magazine’s ’30 under 30′. Wow, just wow.

Anddddd to top it off she knows just about all their is to know about throwing the perfect outdoor party. From statement parasols to colourful cutlery, Rosanna is sharing her top tips for entertaining al fresco this summer.

So without further ado lets al fres-go to the fabulous Rosanna…

Where do you start when it comes to thinking up creative ideas for your fabulous table settings?

It all starts with a theme. It might be a motif – a peacock or flamingo – or a seasonal trend such as harvest or Valentine’s Day. I’ll make a Pinterest board gathering inspiration imagery – from the menu to the flowers. Then, I’ll add a personal twist. For me, that’s a bright or pastel colour palette, seasonal flowers and eye-catching trinkets.

Number one piece of advice when entertaining outdoors?

Go to town as much as you would when entertaining indoors! Bring out your best china and cutlery, layer beautiful cushions on the seats and serve wine in crystal glasses that will catch the candlelight. There’s a supposition that when hosting alfresco, you need a dedicated set of garden pieces, when in reality, bringing the indoors outdoors is what makes a summer’s evening magical. Set the scene too: you could consider bringing out side tables, rugs and armchairs from your sitting room for relaxing after dinner. Look at Tim Walker’s fantastical woodland shoots for inspiration! Just watch the weather, it is England, after all!

What’s your absolute favourite meal to serve outside?

It has to be afternoon tea, for so many reasons! First of all, it’s served at the time of day when the sun starts to dip – not too hot, not too cold. And of course, if conversation is flowing, it goes on until sunset too! Then, all the components can be made in advance and don’t need to be heated, so as a host, it’s a joy and you can concentrate on your guests. I also think gardens are perfectly suited to the aesthetic delights of tea. From floral teacups and saucers to cakes liberally iced in pastel colours, embrace the prettiness of it all!

What makes a special setting for a shared meal in your opinion?

I would say somewhere private and enclosed, where secrets can be shared and laughter can be loud! That, and the addition of special touches from the host. I’ve fallen in love with designs from @eastlondonparasolco this summer. Whether on their side for a summer den or over a table, they shade your guests from the sun and bathe them in glorious colour.

Our concept here at Foxhill when it comes to dining is “whatever you fancy, wherever you fancy it”. Tell us your ultimate place to dine al fresco?

Love this concept! For me, it’s all about the view. A couple stand out for me: a battlement on the side of a cliff in Deia, Mallorca, where I got engaged is one of them. Then, on honeymoon, I will never forget the Step Well Dinner at Rawla Narlai in Rajasthan. We were led on an ox-drawn cart through the village to the hotel’s 16th-century step well. There, 700 candles and oil lamps flickered on every step, corner and crevice surrounding the deep well. At its centre, a local jogi musician played on a tumbura and sang folk songs while we were served thali cooked by a private chef. Unforgettable.

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