87684HDuring the summer, everyone always prefers to be outside, and evenings are no exception. Whether you’re seeing all the stars in the night sky at the cottage or experiencing the lights and sounds of the city, there’s something particularly magical and romantic about being outdoors after the sun sets. The warm, open air is also the perfect setting for al fresco dining. Skip the pricey patios and invite loved ones over for some inspired summer entertaining. “Outdoor dining gives you the perfect opportunity to explore extraordinary food with your dinner guests,” says Tom Filippou, Executive Chef for President’s Choice Cooking School. “Don’t be afraid to give your guests some different flavours by introducing them to a collection of innovative food.”

Try Filippou’s four great tips to make sure the food you serve and the atmosphere you create are as memorable as the company you share them with.

  1. Serve cool undiluted drinks. Don’t make the mistake of serving too much ice — nobody likes a watered-down drink. Use environmentally-friendly reusable ice cubes that can easily be found in the seasonal housewares section of most retail stores.
  2. Set the mood. Put on some tunes that your guests or date are sure to enjoy. Make sure you ask around to get a feel for the different tastes in music so you can prepare the perfect playlist. Nice tunes, some great company and summer night dining will create the perfect setting for a truly memorable evening.
  3. Spend more time with guests. The last thing you want to do when entertaining is hide out in the kitchen while your guests enjoy the party outside. So cut down on food prep by serving delicious but simple appetizers like tortilla chips with fresh PC Pico de Gallo Mild Salsa Made with chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fresh serranos, salt and key lime juice.
  4. Don’t forget the citronella. The only thing you want your guests to leave your party with are full bellies, not bug bites. So make sure you keep out unwanted visitors like pesky mosquitos with citronella lamps or candles. The added lights also help create a great ambience that just might make your guests believe they’re on a tropical island on a late summer night.

Find inspiration on some great dishes to go along with these tips online at pc.ca.


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