How to Throw a Rustic Alfresco Brunch

With summer coming to a close, August may be considered one of the busiest warm months. Some of us may be heading out for much-anticipated vacations, or maybe August marks the beginning of a new job or semester of higher education. Yet through all of life’s busy moments, it’s important to pause and enjoy each other before we split off in different directions.

The perfect way to enjoy company is through food and drinks, so I’m sharing tips on creating a rustic brunch alfresco—complete with a guide on decor, drinks, and food to enjoy what is left of these beautiful summer months.

Incorporate rustic elements into the decor for a truly laid back outdoor-style brunch. To create this look, mix wooden textures with mixed metals and use light linens with natural plant elements such as rosemary and roses. Stick to a classic clean color palette—think white and cream.

1. Line a rustic table with a light fabric table runner in white, cream, or metallic.
2. Set the table with enough settings for your party. (I used these cream plates with silver utensils.)
3. Place a neatly folded napkin on top of the plates. For the place cards, I tied the napkins with kitchen twine then placed the card under the twine with a sprig of rosemary.
4. Set a bouquet of roses (or any other cream or white flowers) in the middle of the table.
5. Add water goblets next to each setting and place enough S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water sparkling water bottles for the table to share.

While guests are waiting for food (if you’re still cooking it) be sure to serve light, refreshing drinks. Chilled S.Pellegrino sparkling water makes for a crisp refreshment, or use a fresh fruit juice and champagne to mix up a light cocktail.
Pomegranate Orange Spritzer
1 bottle of sweet wine (Moscato or Riesling)
Pomegranate or orange juice

Pour wine into each guest’s glass and add a splash or two of pomegranate or orange juice. Top with ice and a paper straw and garnish with orange twist.


The strata and roasted vegetables with a light mixed green salad will keep your guests full and satisfied.

Bacon, Kale, and Gouda Strata
recipe via The Kitchn cookbook, with some adaptations 

Olive oil
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6-8 cups French or Italian bread, cubed
1 package bacon (cooked) chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups shredded Gouda cheese

Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a large bowl, beat the eggs then whisk in milk, cream, salt and pepper. Add the bread cubes into the mixture and set aside.

Cook bacon according to taste (but not too crispy.) Remove all but five strips of bacon from skillet. Add garlic, cooking it for 2-3 minutes or until it turns golden. Add kale in handfuls, making sure to stir to coat with bacon and garlic. Once kale is wilted, pour in white wine, and cook for about two minutes.

Fold the cooked bacon, garlic, and kale mixture into the egg and bread mixture. Fold in three-quarters of the shredded Gouda cheese. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the mixture.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the strata is lightly puffed and golden. The strata should be firm and dry in the center and browned on the outside edges. Cool before serving.

Roasted Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts
1 bag of fingerling (or tri-color) potatoes
1 container of brussel sprouts (about 10-15 sprouts)
Leftover bacon from the strata
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, dried parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 450° F. Cut each potato into cubes and halve each sprout. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley leaves. Add the potatoes and sprouts then mix them well until covered with olive oil and spices. Lay the ingredients evenly in roasting pan, then roast uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Add to serving bowl and mix in leftover crumbled bacon pieces from strata. Serve to guests!

Fresh Fruit
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and red seedless grapes—combine these fruits for a light fruit salad.

Mixed Green Salad
1 bag of arugula
1 bag of spinach or baby greens
Halved grape tomatoes
Halved or slivered almonds
Olive oil and salt
Salad dressing or vinaigrette

In a large bowl, combine one tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add greens to bowl and mix with salt and olive oil. Add to serving platter and top with grape tomatoes, almonds, and your favorite salad dressing or vinaigrette.

How are you spending the rest of summer? Be sure to post your next brunch gathering on Instagram and tag us! #TheEverygirlCooks

This post is sponsored by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water.