Est. 2011

October 22, 2019

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Tips for Hosting Outdoors with Harry & David

Is there any better way to celebrate the season than inviting a handful of friends over for a casual fireside gathering with an array of gourmet cheese, charcuterie, wine, and accouterments? If you know me, then you know my answer is a definite “no” – there is no better way! Welcoming guests with a giant feast board filled with gourmet goodies from Harry & David, plus a few bottles of the New Harry & David Sparkling Wine, is a guaranteed way to delight your guests while keeping things uncomplicated for you, the host! I love that, with Harry & David, you can easily design any occasion tailored to a specific budget; their products range from $10 to $400!

I recently partnered with Harry & David to host an al fresco Autumn evening; we gathered around the campfire, sipped on wine, and snacked on an array of artfully arranged gourmet items, simply enjoying each other’s company around the fire. The conversation lingered for hours.

Creating a beautiful space in which guests are nourished is one of my passions. Over the years, I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Some of the most memorable moments have been when guests are casually invited just a day or two in advance, and no one is required to make or bring anything. Keep reading for my tips & tricks for hosting impromptu outdoor gatherings.

I hope you are able to make the most of the last few weeks of the year of open air hosting…

Tips and Tricks for Hosting Impromptu Outdoor Gatherings

  • Don’t stress about the food; make a feast board. You’re more likely to host an impromptu gathering if you don’t have to make a full meal or worry about what to serve your guests. My go-to for hosting is a feast board: a large wooden board covered in cheese, charcuterie, fresh fruit, crackers & bread, and all the accoutrements. Arrange the larger items on wooden board, fill in all cracks and crannies, and watch as your guests create the most delicious flavor combinations!
  • Make it extra simple by shopping Harry & David. I love Harry & David’s new selection of gourmet fare; it allows for entertaining with elegance and ease. I love keeping my fridge and pantry stocked and ready to host; I chose a few new products to try out for this gathering: 1) Harry & David Gourmet Deluxe Charcuterie & Cheese Assortment; 2) Harry & David Gourmet Organic Charcuterie and Cheese Collection; 3) Wood River Creamery Alpha’s Morning Sun Cheese and Harry & David Pinot Gris; and 4) Spanish Roblevilla Manchego Cheese and Harry & David Merlot. Everyone LOVED the Rogue Creamery® Smokey Blue® organic blue cheese, which is part of the Organic Charcuterie and Cheese Collection. It was delightfully mild, and is made in Oregon. The olive oil and sel gris organic sourdough flatbread are my new must-have item for a feast board; they’re hearty and perfect with any toppings (or just by themselves), and add a gorgeous texture.
  • Think about lighting. Hang a few lights overhead and make sure you have some wood for the fire pit, because all al fresco parties are better with some form of twinkling lights. Guests are encouraged to linger when there’s a fire roaring, the candles are flickering, and the overhead lights sway in the breeze.
  • Always include a few bottles of wine. I served the New Harry and David Sparkling Wine, and everyone loved how bright and refreshing it was. It’s made with a unique blend of four different varietals grown in Southern Oregon and includes light citrus aromas, notes of crisp apple and pear, and a hint of fresh grapefruit for an elegantly clean finish. It was the perfect accompaniment to our cheese and charcuterie selections.
  • Convey a casual tone. When the menu is on the informal side, I like being adventurous and embracing casual by allowing guests to lounge and eat with their fingers. Whether it’s putting out a feast board or using throw pillows and rugs and poufs around the campfire instead of more formal seating arrangements at a table, I enjoy providing a setting for guests to relax and linger.
  • Anticipate your guests’ needs. Since you’re dining outdoors, have some blankets nearby so guests can keep warm as the sun sets. If you’re hosting in the daytime or during hotter summer months, think about including a basket of bug spray and sunscreen nearby.
  • Have a plan for inclement weather. If your gathering is spontaneous, you’ll probably have a good idea what the forecast will be. But it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. Can you move into the living room? If your home is too small to comfortably accommodate everyone, what about a covered porch? A neighbor’s home? Even the garage? Having some sort of contingency plan will make you (and your guests) more at ease.
  • Embrace your surroundings. Do you have a tree under which you can host your gathering? Or a flower garden that can provide a seasonal backdrop? Think about embracing nature and allowing it to play a role in the decor. For this gathering, I set the cheese and wine out under a vine growing wildly along our fence. I love the natural canopy it created over our table.

And that’s it! Hope these tips and tricks help you to host an impromptu outdoor gathering this season! What secrets do you have up your sleeve?

See more gatherings inspiration on A Daily Something!

Sponsor Note: Although this post was sponsored by Harry & David, all content, words, and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting the partnerships that help keep this blog running.

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