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Top 5 Tips for Summertime Entertaining

Last month we invited some of our favorite influencers to join us for a secret supper at an Oregon winery for a delicious summer feast. Host Eva Kosmas Flores of Adventures in Cooking shares her tips on how to entertain during warmer months.

Sunset with vineyards in foreground

This past May I co-hosted a beautiful Secret Supper for Crate and Barrel with Danielle Firle and Mona Johnson and Jaret Foster of Tournant. We spent the evening at Alit Winery in the Willamette Valley here in Oregon, one of the west coast's premier wine regions, perched atop a hill overlooking the valley underneath the shade of a giant old oak tree.

Giant Oak Tree next to tent with table and people underneath

Long table set for supper

Since we host most of our suppers in the warm-weather months, I put together a little list of my top summertime entertaining tips for you all. The advice is based off of my experience with working and serving food outdoors in hot weather, and I hope it helps guide you to the sunny dinner party of your dreams!

Tent with people underneath and rainbow in background

Long table under table with people on both sides eating and drinking

Top 5 Tips for Summertime Entertaining:

1. Place the table with the weather in mind. If it's going to be especially hot, you might not want to have the table outdoors in direct sunlight. Instead you and your guests will probably be more comfortable someplace shady, like under a large tree, shrub, or tent.

Oak tree next to empty tent ready for secret supper

Rectangular platter with cold vegetable salad surrounding fish

Hands holding serving bowl of food

2. Stick to hot-weather foods. Whenever you turn the oven on, it's going to make your house hotter. Since the weather is already toasty, I recommend sticking with cool foods like salads, chilled drinks, and frozen desserts. If you want to put together a hot main dish, break out the grill and keep the heat outside the home. Plus the nice smoky flavor from the charcoals will make the food taste even better.

Man flipping meat on outside grill

Salad and dinner plate with food and hands about to eat with utensils

Secret Supper sign on chair next to table of wine and lanterns overhead

3. Prepare for summertime pests. Mosquitoes and other insects can put a real damper on outdoor entertaining festivities. Make sure you're loaded up with some insect-repellent candles tucked into pretty candle holders. It'll keep the bugs away while you and your guests enjoy your meal together. If you have yellow jackets and the like that are attracted to food, get a few mesh food tents to protect your dishes while outdoors, too!

Large Oak tree next to tent

Radishes on pieces of bread on tray

Hands salting fish

4. Prepare as much as you can in advance. If the weather is nice, set the patio table the day before. Plus, things like making a big batch of a chilled cocktail, chopping/cutting ingredients, and tossing together the salad (wait to dress it until right before serving) can all be done the day before as long as you have space to keep everything refrigerated overnight.

Birds eye view of table set for supper

Place setting with menu ready for supper guests

White vases with flowers

5. Make nonalcoholic drinks readily available. When it's hot, your guests are going to be drinking a TON of water, and if your guests have to ask you to refill their glass every time they need more water, it's going to be a long night for everyone. Have a couple big pitchers filled to the brim with ice water on the table when guests arrive so that everyone can keep themselves hydrated and so you don't have to worry about getting up to refill glasses.

Water dispenser and carafes on table

Chilled Champagne and Rose bottles on table

Get more summer dinner party tips!

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