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Hosting outside: last-minute midsummer party

As we build up to the longest day, evenings get warmer and longer. What a perfect excuse for a party outside! As invitations become a little more last minute while we confirm what the weather will be doing on the day, here’s the Clos19 guide to hosting a short-notice, midsummer’s dinner that will look like you planned it weeks ago. Get your store cupboard ready and make space in your fridge!


When setting the scene, having a few things on hand, washed and ready to go will be a blessing on the night. An ironed tablecloth (that actually fits the outdoor table) instantly says ‘I’m effortlessly chic’. Likewise, find your matching napkins if you have them, a handsome, metal ice bucket, proper wine or spirits glasses and if you want to go the extra mile, invest in a string of solar powered festival lights that slowly turn themselves on as the sun goes down. Install these in advance and you’ll have automatic ambience without having to think about it.


Now for the food. Around midsummer, there should always be certain essentials in your fridge, freezer and store cupboard. Maybe it’s a night when you’re dashing home from work, or maybe the party was brought forward thanks to clement weather? Whatever the reason for the rush, last-minute hosting needn’t be stressful. Plan a shop now: a pre-bought selection of high quality, vacuum packed cheeses and cold meats will last until you need them; just serve on your most rustic, wooden boards to add an artisanal touch. Such important food basics need matching wines and sparkling rosé does the job exceptionally well. Keep a couple of bottles of Chandon sparkling rosé in your fridge just for this occasion.

In your next shop, be sure to add a few boxes of long-life snacks, crackers and nibbles to your basket. Having these ready in your cupboard will prevent that last minute dash to the shops. Equally, add a baguette or two that you can throw into the freezer along with a bag of ice, luxury ice cream and a maybe even frozen pudding. Match a wine to the pudding if you want to show off your super smooth hosting skills by keeping a secret stash of off-dry or sweet champagne in your cellar. This style of wine is incredibly versatile with desserts and fresh fruits, and you can bring it up to the ice bucket on the night. Try Veuve Clicquot Rich - in magnum or jeroboam if you want to see in the solstice properly. The Rich or Moët Ice cuvées are also perfect for cocktail lovers who happen to be low on their mixology essential ingredients. You only need ice and a couple of garnishes. By the time pudding comes round, just like you and your guests, it will be perfectly chilled.