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Alfresco Dinner Party with Valencia Orange

Alfresco dinners are one of the best things about summer. I wanted to celebrate the season by having an intimate dinner party that smelled, tasted and felt great; full of summer veg & fruit to add to the atmosphere.


To create an orange themed table-scape, I chose ripe citrus-scented votive candles & Valencia Orange decorative fragrance as my centerpiece to set the mood.

Valencia Orange Centerpieces

Next, I chose a fun tablecloth and bright glassware from Old Time Pottery

The flowers are from a Crepe Myrtle tree in my backyard. Anything currently blooming works!


To keep with the theme, I chose to make dried orange napkin holders tied with sprigs of rosemary from the garden. I used this dehydrated orange recipe to make the oranges (they are also great for holiday decor or as a cocktail garnish).


I wanted a bitter orange sparkling beverage- a classic Aperol Spritz is the #1 summer drink in my house! Serve with a nice slice of orange & ice in a large wine glass. Recipe here

The Meal

My summer go-to is tomato pie. Everyone has their own secret recipe, but I love Southern Living’s take. Extra points if you can get local heirloom tomatoes! I used thick slices of German Queen, Mr. Stripey, and Yellow Boy varieties from my friend, Liz. Ripe tomatoes and homemade crust make all the difference in this recipe. Tomato pie can be made ahead of time and makes THE BEST leftovers.

I was so inspired by this vegan cake, so I tried it myself! You make this beautiful puffy cream, 3 layers of sponge & add summer fruits of your choosing. The finishing touch is adding edible flowers! For this cake I chose nasturtiums ( blooming now with a beautiful orange color), fennel flower, and my favorite, borage. Borage are tiny, blue, star-shaped flowers that have hints of cucumber and honey. Lastly, a little bit of lavender at the base.

Perhaps the most important part of this meal is the grilled summer salad. It’s a great way to feature all kinds of summer veg that are in season; something simple and light with lots of color! This recipe is perfect for just that + I added avocado!


written by Janette Wall

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