When it comes to successful summer- time entertaining, think light and refreshing food and drink. Keeping flavors and colors cool will infuse your get-together with energy and zest. Food

When the weather warms, let your guests’ plates cool with fresh salads and cold soups like gazpacho or chilled pea soup.

Get fresh produce in season at your farmer’s market or grocer. Serving up big helpings of colorful vegetables will bring seasonal freshness directly to your table.

Great appetizers for summer include shrimp cocktail and fresh tomato bruschetta. Serve dips like hummus and guacamole with freshly chopped vegetables like bell peppers and carrots. All of these are easily prepared and refreshing starters in warm weather.

For main dishes, rely on cold proteins: chilled roasted chicken or poached fish can be paired with a pasta salad and topped with mozzarella or goat cheese.

These ideas are great for serving family-style, giving you more time to mingle. Remember, simplicity should extend to your hosting duties! Drinks

Wine and cocktails are the stars of the show at any good get-together. This summer, think about going beyond traditional warm weather drinks. A delicious, unexpected choice is Port wine. With all its diverse styles (ruby, rosé, and white), Port should not be reserved for the colder months. Certain types work perfectly in warm weather, such as Croft Pink Port, a crisp, ripe and fruity wine. Serve chilled with a squeeze of lime or in a rosé sangria; it’s a great pairing for lighter meals.

Warmer days also call for lighter cock- tails that are lower in alcohol. Try Fonseca Siroco, a dry white Port, that is delicious served over ice, topped with tonic, and garnished with a lemon peel. It’s a simple and refreshing summer sipper.

Some Tawny Port wines are great served chilled, such as Croft Reserve Tawny or Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny. They are light, nutty, and have good acidity, making them a naturally refreshing choice for an excellent aperitif on their own or paired with hard, nutty cheeses or paté.

A glass of Port also offers a lighter, warm weather alternative to end a meal, satisfying sweet cravings without eating an entire heavy dessert.

Port, which was once thought of as a classic winter drink, is now lightened up to be enjoyed any time of the year. It’s also one of the few wines that keeps in the refrigerator for weeks after being opened; ready to go for those impromptu summer sipping moments. Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca and Croft are all famed Port producers to try.

Above all, have fun with your food and drinks this summer entertaining season, keeping everything light and easy for you and your guests.