A Rustic Dinner Party Under The Stars

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A dream dinner party for us isn’t a dolled up affair. We’ve been to plenty of nice restaurants and eaten some amazingly complicated meals, but the kind of dinner party that we always love (the memories that really last) have more to do with simple decor, simple food, lively conversation and a spectacular setting.

Laure’s Dream Dinner Party

The Scene: An outdoor balcony or courtyard somewhere in France (no need to get too specific here) though the fantasy is based on time spent in the south of France where each night dinner was served under a canopy of vines with the sun setting beyond. Hours went by, bottles of wine were emptied and a good time was had by all.

The Time: Summertime and just as the sky is turning a deep blue. Because it’s summer it will stay like this for hours.

The Table: A rustic and hearty wood table with gashes and wax and stains. Plain linen napkins, very good wine glasses, Duralex glasses for water and plain white dishes. Perhaps for some flair, the utensils will be from Claude Lalanne.

The Decor: Other than lanterns in some trees, candles on the table and some beautiful flowers, nothing over the top. The setting can speak for itself.

The People: Family and friends past and present with an ever expanding table and limitless time so that there’s time to talk with everyone.

The Menu:

Hors d’ouevres:
• Saucisson Sec, olives and a dry white wine.
• Tiny caprese skewers on toothpicks: half a cherry tomato, a piece of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf on each.
• Delicious bagguette with home made olive tapenade.

To Start:
• A nice gazpacho with a bite to it made with ingredients found in the garden and garnished with fresh basil.

Main Dishes:
• A roast. Something like this Garlic and Rosemary Pork Loin that has all day to cook and is warm, juicy and tender and can feed a crowd.
Gratin Dauphinoise.
• Stewed bell peppers

• A Cotes Du Rhone and plenty of it.

Salad: (To be very French we will eat our salad at the end of the meal to help digest.)
• A simple salad using lettuces from the garden with tomato, cucumber, a sprinkling of fresh parsley and basil and hopefully some edible flowers for some color. The family vinaigrette: heavy on the vinegar and garlic.

Cheese Plate:
• Petit Pont L’eveque
Petit Basque
• A fresh goat cheese rolled in herbs and drizzled with olive oil
• Roquefort, blue and veiny and oh so stinky.
• Ripe figs and fig confis.
Pain Polane

• My grandmother’s Tarte Tatin
• My grandmother’s Gateau au Chocolate, a flourless chocolate cake that is dense and bordering on bitter.
• Fresh whipped cream.
• A Rose Geranium Eau de Vie

And finally un cafe.

What would your dream dinner party be? Stay tuned this week for more of our own dream dinner parties!

(Images: Laure Joliet, Capucine Kling, Laure Joliet, Sara-Kate Gillingham Ryan, Laure Joliet, Reidel, Faith Hopler)