summer entertaining is the best

by Sharon Santoni

summer dining al fresco

As a family we love to entertain …. be it a couple of friends for a cosy dinner around a winter fire; high tea in the garden with kids and dogs all over the place; a fun lunch with girlfriends …. entertaining friends is what we love best.

champagne in the garden

My husband is a great cook, and generally when we invite guests he takes care of the main course, either  one of us prepare the entrée, and I handle dessert.   I get my cooking done earlier in the day, and while he is in the kitchen late afternoon I lay the table …

summer dining al fresco

A happy, pretty table is just another way of saying ‘welcome’.   And of course for me that would be impossible without fresh flowers from the garden.    Luckily at this time of year, when the days are so long that it doesn’t get dark until gone 10 in the evening, my roses are in full bloom along the barn wall.   I like to keep the flowers relaxed on the dining table, especially when we are outside.   A handful of smallish vases, filled with roses, scattered along the centre, and easy to move out of the way if we have a big serving dish to place.

Our barbecue is as much about atmosphere as for cooking, and generally we light it whenever we sit at this table, it keeps us all warm as conversations lingers onto early morning, and the glow from the gently flickering flames is the most complimentary light you could possible find.

summer dining al fresco


Voila! …. summer entertaining french country style. No fuss, no perfection, just the fun of sharing a good meal around a pretty table and taking our time to put the world to rights.

summer dining al fresco

And if you’d like to see more French country ideas for entertaining, you may like to know that my next book is all  about entertaining through the seasons and that it is currently available on pre-sales, right here.



I am also happy to announce that we have a winner for our My Stylish French Box giveaway ….. congratulations to Alison  who will receive the August box in a few weeks time!


Our French Oasis June 22, 2017 - 1:40 pm

Your summer entertaining is just the same as ours, perfectly simple, outdoor meals. Like you, my husband usually takes care of the main course and certainly the BBQ and I do desserts, it’s the perfect match! Your flowers are table settings are utter perfection as always. Enjoy these wonderful long summer evenings, I don’t think anything could be better than this x

Bev Cook June 22, 2017 - 3:46 pm

Beautiful photos as usual. Life in France looks amazing. Enjoy , relax , have a great summer

Marsha Scott June 22, 2017 - 5:16 pm

Always the best kind of entertaining. This is the main reason I’m moving to the country, into a REAL house with vistas forever, so I can have my friends over. It’s soul food for ME !! Your book is going to be Christmas gifts to every single one of my girlfriends this year. They’ll be thrilled !! Please, next time, you’re in the US let me know, I’ll come where ever to meet you !! Happy Summer, my friend !!!

Colleen Taylor June 22, 2017 - 6:25 pm

How beautiful this all is Sharon.I wish it would get dark earlier here right now. Your table is so charming & pretty.The summers are beastly right now & the absence of the sun would be welcome.I know it will pass but it can’t happen soon enough.

The Enchanted Home June 22, 2017 - 6:43 pm

So love it! It is so beautiful and feels like the perfect combination of casual and is so inviting and magical looking!

Dottie Monta June 22, 2017 - 9:57 pm

Thank you, Sharon, for this timely post! About to have our first evening gathering, and your use of plain unpressed linen and garden flowers is refreshing, inspiring, and lovely!

Sandra @ Maison De Jardin June 23, 2017 - 12:54 am

Absolutely beautiful – enchanted really.

stacey snacks June 23, 2017 - 1:44 pm

We have been lucky enough to sit in your beautiful yard and have a delicious dinner prepared by Mr & Mrs. A memorable evening.

xo Stacey

Carolyn Haley June 24, 2017 - 4:40 am

Just pre-ordered your new book, I am sooooooo looking forward to receive it. Great idea to give as gifts for Christmas. I met you in Tallahassee at Hearth and Soul, I wish you would consider coming back here if you do another tour in the USA. Love your blog and you last book.

Carolyn in Tallahassee, FL

Samantha June 28, 2017 - 8:11 pm

I love eating outdoors but always find that I can’t seem to keep the flies and wasps away!! Do you have any secrets to having a pleasant meal outdoors while keeping these unwelcome guests away, especially at night? Thanks!

Sofia July 9, 2017 - 7:41 pm

Having just discovered your lovely blog, I’m currently happily rummaging through all your inspiring posts. Seeing the lovely antique style champagne glasses in this post, I just have to ask where they come from as I have been searching for similar tall ones for ages. Fingers crossed they’re from a lovely online shop (but guessing they might be heirlooms or from a little French antique shop…)

Mary Kay Abblett August 11, 2017 - 7:56 pm

Just found your blog thanks to
A link. Its so lovely. Love the look of the book too. I am obsessed by all things
Travel cooking. I am home with you!!!


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