A perfect dinner
We meet Giuditta Visocchi and her husband Marco Borgogelli Ottaviani in their home in Fano (the ancient Roman "Fanum Fortunae", third biggest town of Le Marche province)
Giuditta is Roman by birth with French, Neapolitan (hence the surname Visocchi) noble origins.
He manages a Facebook page called "Il Buon Salotto" and a children' s clothing store named "il Salottino dell'Unicorno", and is the ideal person to ask for advice for hospitality, that in the garden in the summer months, as practiced as little considered.
We expect to meet a formal and austere person, instead we find a cheerful, smiling woman, capable of putting you immediately at ease, who talks about her passions with a contagious enthusiasm.
The house where he has lived for 7 years is the ancient barn of a large noble residence in the historic center of the city, with spectacular terracotta floors and ceilings made with large wooden beams. Part of the large house is made available to guests as a Guest House ("The Unicorn - hospitality is at home" reads the Facebook page).
She gladly accepted to answer our questions about "Il Buon Salotto" and her idea of Garden Décor, and we thank her for that!
Giuditta, first of all, how did the idea of opening a page dedicated to the traditional etiquette on FB?
I have always had the pleasure of transmitting to friends and not, my idea of style, savoir-faire and bon ton, updated to the time in which we live, which is often astounding vulgar and flattened by the common bad taste that rages among the VIPs, or alleged such, which invade social networks, new masters of the media! So I enrich "Il Buon Salotto" with posts and images taken from the web that impress me positively for their beauty and style, and of course I also publish private images of interiors and decorations of my home in Fano or of houses and residences where I was a guest and which I think can be a starting point to furnish and decorate the homes of my "followers"!
What role do you give to the Garden in hospitality?
The "good parlour" in summer becomes "the good garden", a living room to be lived mainly towards sunset and evening and enjoying the cooler temperatures, unless you are lucky enough to also have a swimming pool and then the garden becomes the master of our summer days!
Are there specific tips to give to those who want to host people outdoors?
The rules for hosting friends and relatives in the garden are always the same that Etiquette prescribes, or more simply good manners and respect for others, let's say that direct contact with the nature of a garden or park makes the atmosphere and more relaxed gestures, but it is always relative to the mood style and the age of people invited. A wedding or lunch between 8 pm and 9 pm, not to be confused with the 1 pm breakfast, will have a mise-en-place and a more elegant and formal tone than a party for children or a Sunday brunch, by its nature more relaxed and Buffet served.
In general, the level of attention to detail and care for every guest must never relax just because you are in the garden, even if there is more freedom of movement as it is a poolside party or a cocktail buffet .
For those who want to make a hosting in the garden with many guests and / or for a wedding or baptism party, they can present a buffet with many tables to sit at random, or they can be served and decorated in a formal version "placée", the various tables with the names already decided at the start by the hosts and indicated in calligraphy on cards directly in front of each place with a small ornament that is in tone with the rest of the decoration and with the style of the hosting itself!
An example of a placée dinner in the garden can be a table with a perfect mise-en-place to be served after 10 pm, or rather even around midnight, as the final crowning of a recital or a live concert.
Any ideas to take as a starting point?
I can give an example that pleasantly impressed me recently, a lyric concert of classical music in the garden of a vineyard here in Le Marche, where the hosts made us find wicker baskets with small bug spray bottles available. I found it a brilliant idea and presented in style!
In general, for a nice garden table I prefer the glass or ceramic tabletop on a wrought iron base that is easy to keep clean and is elegant and effective. For a placeé breakfast or lunch the American doilies are always a chic and practical idea, I prefer the tablecloth only if it is a formal wedding or first communion banquet...
What do you recommend for the centerpiece and dinneware?
The most elegant and also practical table centerpiece is generally a ceramic fruit composition that fits in with the mood, while I find flowers more suitable for interiors. Every self-respecting garden will always be full of plants and flowers so it is useless to put them even at the center of the table, in fact, too much is too much!
Always staying in a chic and contemporary style, for a dinner in the garden I recommend the line of synthetic glassware produced by a famous and historic Florentine brand, now a "must" to furnish the most chic tables in the world! His style is absolutely classic and is inspired by the models of the historic manufacture of classic ceramics and porcelain, but with a modern, colorful and indestructible material, which makes the conviviality between guests and hosts even more enjoyable.
Candles cannot be missing on a summer table in the garden, because the atmosphere is immediately more welcoming, but without exaggerating otherwise it could seem like an altar!
What should we never forget?
A tip that I would like to do for any type of reception in the garden, formal or informal, always serving drinks at very low temperatures, then abundant ice in the appropriate buckets in silver, bamboo with internal thermos or synthetic material, because there is nothing worse than drinking white wine and cold drinks that become soon warm!
Thanks Giuditta, and see you soon!