We’re dedicated to bringing you the best of the best here at Casa de Suna.
When it comes to expert tips on entertaining al fresco, it’s hard to beat the advice of Donna Lennard, founder of il Buco Vita and owner of New York’s famous il Buco restaurants. Read on to learn about everything from her favorite products to her top alfresco tips.
First, tell us a bit about il Buco and how il Buco Vita came about!
il Buco Vita is a curated tabletop and home décor line inspired by the objects, colors, and patinas that have made Il Buco founder Donna Lennard’s restaurants so authentic and inviting. Our collections are thoughtfully sourced and hand-selected by co-founders, Antonello and Lorenzo Radi, focusing on pieces that celebrate the artist’s hand. Each piece is made by artisans we know and trust, using traditional methods and mediums.
If someone can only buy one il Buco piece to set their table, what should it be?
How does an outdoor dinner table setting differ from an indoor dinner party? What extras do you need, and what don't you need?
With an outdoor setting, you can go more rustic. Try to use items from nature to enhance the tablescape; branches, small stones, shells, leaves, and even driftwood works.
When I’m hosting at a beautiful, rustic wood table outside, I almost never use a tablecloth. But if you’d prefer to keep your outdoor table covered, I love a linen cloth blowing in the breeze. I also love candles on a table, but if the weather is breezy, you’ll need a hurricane.
Flowers are always a must for me–I love when they look (and ideally, are) naturally and wild–especially outdoors.
What's one piece of tableware people might not typically consider that will add extra flair to their outdoor table?
Don’t underestimate the power and beauty of found objects from nature, from an arrangement with driftwood, found stones to hold down menus or place cards, various shells, and even autumn leaves and colorful gourds in the Fall.
What are your tips for mixing and matching from different collections when it comes to setting a beautiful outdoor table?
I love mixing and matching on a tablescape. It’s always wonderful to see how colors can come together to add nuance to a table. When it comes to the il Buco line, I love pairing pieces from the crisp white Bevagna line with our splattered Montegranaro. Complement that with glassware from our recycled La Riccia collection–every piece has the perfect weight and feel.
I also love antique pieces: bowls, vases, trivets, and cutting boards. I love the way the patina of an antique piece plays into the overall ambiance on a table–some of my favorite final touches for bringing a beautiful table to life.
What is your favorite recipe for an outdoor dinner party?
I love incorporating fresh ingredients. In the summer, that means seafood. I love scallop ceviche; grilled squid with tentacles tossed in basil, olive oil, and peperoncino; linguine alle vongole; and whole roasted fish. As far as sides go, I love grilled ramps, broccoli, garlic scapes, eggplants, and peppers.
For dessert, you can’t go wrong with fresh farm berries and cream or mascarpone.
For those who aren’t quite ready to host an al fresco dinner, but still want to bring some il Buco into their lives, what products would you recommend at each price point?
Be sure to tag Casa de Suna on social media if you were inspired by our al fresco dinner ideas by using #casadesuna.