As summer approaches, everyone’s looking forward to having fun with friends and family again, and what better way to do it than welcoming them back into your home and garden? Although you can’t rely on the Great British weather, we’ve rounded up some of the best tableware, cookware and food that you can rely on to take you from dining in to eating al fresco in a flash. You won’t be cancelling your get-together in the name of a bit of rain anymore!
Cooking al fresco
We may be able to meet in our homes again, but us Brits pride ourselves on making the most of the sun, so when it’s shining, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a proper barbecue! Step it up this year with an electric version that goes far beyond the disposable kind we’re all used to fizzling out. This one from Kalorik boasts two adjustable heating zones so you can have various foods on the go cooking at different temperatures, plus a flat griddle and ribbed grill, and a removable drip tray for healthier cooking. It’s also super quick to heat up and easy to wipe clean, so there won’t be a boring mess to deal with afterwards!
We’ve even got the meat you need to really impress your guests, including succulent Barnsley Lamb Chops and a classic Mixed Sausage Selection to keep everyone satisfied, both from Altham’s Butchers. They’re ideal for barbecuing, but if the weather takes a turn for the worst, they’re just as lovely cooked in a frying pan and served with traditional chips and greens!
Cook the meat with these very clever Slice & Serve Spatulas from Kuhn Rikon. They’re just the thing for outdoor cooking because you can do everything one-handed with these – no more tackling food with a knife, fork and spatula at once! Their sharp serrated blades cut through meat, lasagne, cake and so much more, so they’re ideal for eating al fresco when you don’t have the space to juggle with lots of different tools.
And what would dining outside be without a cheeky tipple? It might surprise you that we have a selection of special drinks on offer here at QVC, such as this gorgeous trio of gin liqueurs from Riverside Spirits. In a spectrum of irresistibly summery flavours including Cucumber, Passion Fruit and Violet Shimmer, these gin liqueurs make a lovely welcome drink mixed with tonic, or they can be served neat as an after-dinner treat. They also come encased in beautiful botanical-inspired bottles that will look lovely placed on your table, outdoors or in.
Set the table
Whether you end up eating outside or indoors, creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for your guests will mark the occasion as something special, and we think candles are the way to go! Not only do they offer an inviting light as the sun goes down, but they also make a great centrepiece for your table and fill the air with a gorgeous summery scent.
We love these lemon candles from Homeworx by Harry Slatkin, which not only look the part with their fabulous ceramic vessels but impart a gorgeous fresh citrus fragrance, with notes of Valenica orange, sugared lemon and sweet amber. You also get two, so this set alone is enough to light the table for an intimate gathering.
We also love Harry’s candle in the fragrance Jasmine & White Peach and Yankee Candle’s Last Paradise collection to set the mood, whether the weather’s warm or not. You could even get both and mix and match them to give your guests a sensory experience as they enjoy your soiree.
When it comes to setting down serving bowls and platters, you really can’t get better than this Tuscan garden-inspired set, which practically sings of summer. No matter if you’re sitting outside in the sun or dining in because it’s raining, there’ll be no mistake that your dinner party is a summer affair!
As for nibbles, while your friends wait for the main event, it’s fun to have something a bit quirky to serve them in. This eye-catching mermaid server offers three sizable bowls to put your olives, crisps and pretzels in, plus it’ll provide a great talking point for your guests as they tuck in!
Serve it up
For a rustic look that also happens to be very convenient for you, this serving pan from Kuhn Rikon will take you straight from hob to table, so your guests can help themselves. It’s perfect for keeping food hot and looks impressive too – you can serve up paella, shakshuka, casserole, pasta dishes and so much more, without having to decant it into serving dishes.
And of course, we can’t forget the drinks! At the moment, every gathering is a reason to celebrate, so go for something really special like these elegant champagne glasses from Bundleberry by Amanda Holden. You don’t just have to stick to bubbly with them – why not serve your gin and tonics, mocktails or even ice cream in them?
Speaking of drinks, this cocktail shaker from Bundleberry will really get the evening going when guests arrive. Fill it with plenty of ice and your favourite cocktail combo (without bubbles to avoid it fizzing over!) and once the lid’s tightly on, shake away, preferably in front of your guests for that bit of excitement. You could even encourage them to shake up their own drinks by creating a little ‘drinks station’ for them to have fun with throughout the night. This elegant bar cart could be just the setting for it, and can even be wheeled out into the garden when it starts to get sunny!
Whether you want to eat outside or relish dining in again, these little touches can easily be brought in and out for a fabulous dinner party experience with your friends and family, whatever the weather. After all, there’s never been a better time to celebrate! For more inspiration, head to our sunny summer home edit.