By Morag Freathy, Regional Managing Director, Eurest.
A sunny day is the perfect excuse to turn an ordinary lunch break into an outdoor occasion.
For me, part of the pleasure of al fresco dining is how different locations bring something unique to your eating experience — even if it’s as simple as the joys of a panini in the park or eating a grapefruit in the garden.
So, to spark your imagination and get you excited about the summer, here are some of my favourite al fresco spots.
Barbecues are a great way to bring everyone together. One of my family’s favourite things to cook is strips of courgette and fennel, marinated in olive oil and lemon, and cooked on the grill. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it… It’s my mum’s recipe, and I couldn’t have a barbecue without it. It’s so simple, grab the ingredients and have a go. Delicious!
Mouth-watering holiday meals
When it’s time to get away for a break my family and I head to France. There’s something about the food over there that just lends itself perfectly to al fresco dining. Warm evenings with good food and good friends... ah the memories. The best thing is, you can recreate it here in the UK: wait for a warm evening, pick some fresh bread and some good cheese, light a candle… Bon appétit.
Closer to home
There’s something inherently romantic about taking a picnic somewhere beautiful. One of my top spots is the Yorkshire Dales. All you need is a sturdy pair of walking boots, a flask of hot tea and some tasty titbits to keep you on your feet. And the best thing is that these days, there are plenty of more adventurous picnic ideas to make your meal more marvellous. Why not try baking tomatoes, asparagus and olives into bread for a super sandwich? Or have a go at this broad bean and feta salad?
A sharing experience
Every summer I head over to my local Bring and Share village fete. Everyone brings something to eat and we meet on the village green to share the food together as a community. You get to eat all sorts of food and meet all sorts of people — usually in the beautiful sunshine. A firm favourite of the fete is home-made jam — it tastes delicious, it’s cheap to make and it’s a great way to preserve all those berries you picked.
And you can eat al fresco at work too. Eurest has restaurants all over the country, many of which have outside dining areas, perfect for a relaxing summer afternoon. We’d love to hear about your favourite outdoor dining spots… Share your tips and pics on Twitter with #eurestalfresco.