Garden Designers Roundtable: Romantic Garden Dining

It seems curious, as it gets cold here in late November,  that I would be thinking about dining outdoors, but  I have a secret.  I collect images of ultra-romantic outdoor furniture suitable for dining and tabletop accessories in hopes of styling one of  my client’s country gardens  for a photograph one day.  Since most of these are so over the top, I never do it, always opting for simpler props and photo styling.

As part of my design process – including the outdoor kitchens that are a mainstay of my design studio’s business, I think about the dining experience.  I like that there is something inherently decadent and luxurious about dining outside with china, crystal, beautiful fabrics and fabulous food.  So as the long northeast winter begins, dream with me about dining al fresco…click image to enlarge or visit the original at Olioboards.   Stop here if ‘eye candy’ isn’t on your menu…

Here’s the overall look I’m after…and a recipe.

Luxurious and romantic garden settings

And for the table–an old recipe from Gourmet (which I miss a lot!)  There’s nothing like fresh fruit from the garden in season…it’s what I miss most in the winter.

Prosecco and Summer Fruit Terrine

4 cups mixed fruit such as berries; peeled and thinly sliced peaches; and halved seedless grapes
2 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1/4-oz envelopes)
2 cups Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Arrange fruit in a 1 1/2-quart glass, ceramic, or nonstick terrine or loaf pan.

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup Prosecco in a small bowl and let stand 1 minute to soften. Bring 1 cup Prosecco to a boil with sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup Prosecco and lemon juice, then transfer to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water. Cool mixture, stirring occasionally, just to room temperature.

Slowly pour mixture over fruit, then chill, covered, until firm, at least 6 hours.

To unmold, dip pan in a larger pan of hot water 3 to 5 seconds to loosen. Invert a serving plate over terrine and invert terrine onto plate.

Photo: Romulo Yanes for Gourmet

This time, I’ll leave the garden and the cooking up to you…

Links to the rest of the Garden Designers Roundtable posts today:

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK
Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA
Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers : Los Angeles, CA
Susan Schlenger : Landscape Design Advice : Hampton, NJ

Related posts:

12 thoughts on “Garden Designers Roundtable: Romantic Garden Dining

  1. I want to be sitting on one of those pretty pink pillows, eating this terrine – NOW! Instead, I’m inside wondering if I should go out and cover my tender succulents from tonight’s impending frost …thanks for the dreamy images! And I’m SO printing this terrine recipe out to save for next summer!

    I’ll trade you for your limoncello recipe!–s

  2. Susan, What a fun look at dining al fresco. I love the table on the stone patio with all the old metal chairs and the dainty butterfly china. I’m going to have to check out Olioboards, I love how you’ve pulled all the elements together.

    Definately check it out. It takes a little bit of getting used to but then you can do some really cool things with it.–s

  3. We’re hoping for clear skies this upcoming Thanksgiving day. Planning to picnic al fresco on Muir Beach and then wander through the redwoods.
    We’re not bringing chairs or a table to the beach, instead we’re opting for blankets and plastic plates,… but for the fun of it I may bring a candelabra.
    thanks for the inspiration !

  4. You hopeless romantic, you!

    From one to another (yes, i also am hopeless), what a wonderful montage. And as others have stated, I’m saving the recipe for that Terrine, looks delish!

  5. I’ve created this type of elegant outdoor dining environment only once – to celebrate a special wedding anniversary with friends – and it made a special occasion even more memorable. Thanks for the beautiful images!

  6. Oh my! I have to bookmark this recipe for the coming Christmas festivities.

    So perfect for a Southern Hemisphere holiday! Enjoy.–s

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