It’s summertime and a time of the year when people normally spend more time outdoors.  There is always lots of gardening to do, recreational activities to engage in and barbecues or picnics to attend.  This is the time of the year when we probably eat outside more than any other time of the year.  That is, if you don’t mind the extra warm temperatures and sometimes oppressive humidity here in north central Virginia.

Dining outdoors is referred to as alfresco dining here in the US.  The term “al fresco” is borrowed from Italian meaning “in cool air”.  Most Italians would refer to outdoor dining as all’aperto.  I expect that al fresco probably sounds more a little more romantic.  
Outside seating under construction.

Al fresco dining usually tends to be a less formal style of dining, in some cases, it can be very family style dining.  It allows you enjoy the outdoors while enjoying your meal.  If you are dining in the evening when the air is slightly cooler, the meal can last well into the hours after sunset while enjoying another bottle of wine or after dinner drinks.  In a romantic setting, you can add a tablecloth, linen napkins, a small flower arrangement, a few candles and perhaps some beautiful china and crystal.  However, in our more relaxed way of life in America, we might still have lovely dinnerware and glasses, but forego some of the other things.  When dining al fresco in town, this can mean that you are dining on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.  This can be a wonderful experience because you get to watch the people passing by while enjoying your meal.  Enjoy the chance to dine al fresco when you can, because eventually winter will return and most people will retreat indoors again until Spring returns.

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