Sun’s out… burger buns out! The urge to eat al fresco is irresistible in the summer, but it always seems to involve some negatives… Wilting salads, congealing mayonnaise, overheating wine … and uninvited guests with composite eyes (no, not neighbours with weird sunglasses… flies and wasps). Then there’s the problem of it being unbearably hot for half of us, up until the moment 10 minutes before it’s too cold for the other half.
However, there is no reason for regretting the decision to eat outside, if you follow a few simple tricks…
Tip 1 – Shade, yes; mayo, no
An obvious problem of al fresco dining is that direct sunlight does not exactly improve most dishes, other than sundried tomatoes. Cheese starts melting; leaves wilt; meat dries out and pastry sweats.
There are some menu choices you can make to minimise the effects of the sun on food… choose dishes from countries where they eat outside regularly – for example salami rather than poached salmon; robust cheeses such as feta, manchego or parmesan instead of cheddar, stilton or brie (unless the latter is straight from the fridge and will benefit from warming). Go for crunchy (radishes and fennel) or roasted Mediterranean veg instead of leafy salads. And finally, opt for a vinaigrette over mayonnaise-based dressings.
You can also help delay the damaging effect of the sun’s UV rays – not only on your food, but on your skin (sunburn) and outdoor furnishings (fading) – with a precision-engineered Haus awning, manufactured in Germany and available in the UK from Appeal Shading. You can choose the maximum coverage area to suit your space, from 16.5sqm, 24.5sqm, 26sqm or (with a Haus pergola) a huge 30sqm.
Appeal’s shading solutions are always tailor-made to your home. The canopies on our Haus awnings are available in 150 patterns & vibrant colours. We use the Spinneret dye process, which locks colour pigment into the fibres for years to come. And they are finished with Teflon EXTREME®, to be water and dirt repellent. But the colour choice is not limited to the canopy: for the frame, you have a choice of 50 standard and 150 special colours.
Tip 2 – Serve indoors; eat outdoors
An even better option than adapting your menu to the weather is keeping everything cool, fresh and unbothered by flies and wasps indoors. So there’s no need to avoid mayo, to clutter the table with anti-insect mesh food domes or flapping constantly at insects (“Quick – the coleslaw – no, wait, it’s on the potato salad! – oops, sorry about knocking wine in your lap!”.
Of course, if you do lay out the food inside, you still need to stop insects getting into the house … To avoid that invasion, while still allowing in cooling breezes, open up your doors and windows but fit them with Appeal’s super-fine ClearVu mesh insect screens – professionally measured and fitted to the exact size of the opening – including large bi-fold or patio doorways. The slim, compact, retractable mechanism folds the screen neatly away when not in use. You can even match the frame colour to your decor for a small additional fee.
Alternatively, Finestra blinds are an attractive option if people are moving in and out of the house frequently. While not providing a full barrier, the soft, flowing woven mesh is a deterrent to insects but the vertical vanes can be easily parted by people.
Tip 3 – Make sure everyone’s kept warm
“Al fresco” literally means “in the fresh” but that has its limits – especially if a lunch party heads into the evening, as they often do. Rather than have everyone sitting with blankets on their knees, why not have the option to create an evening scenario at the touch of a button?
Our exclusive Haus awnings are now available with ULTRA Plus control. Manage your outdoor shading – as well as interior blinds – from your phone or tablet. A simple command within the app will open or close your awning but, more than that, it will also control optional infra-red heaters and dimmable LED lights. You can issue instant specific directions; set a timer to turn on lights and heating automatically; or design scenarios combining lights, heat and interior blinds in combinations to create the perfect evening ambience.
Tip 4 – Make allowances for rain
A popular northern comedian once did a fantastic stand-up routine about a British barbecue and the panic caused when it started “spitting” with rain. Don’t let the rain ruin your day. Even if you don’t have someone in the family who will stand stalwart by the coals in a downpour, you can always grill or roast the food in the kitchen, but eat outdoors.
A Haus pergola can withstand even heavy rain. It has telescopic supports which can raise the canopy high for maximum sense of space, or lower it so you can hunker down in the rain, which will flow off it with no puddling. The pergola can cope with winds up to Force 6 (or 48kph). The Haus pergola is also available with optional infra-red heaters and LED lights, helping to create a cosy haven and making al fresco dining in the rain fun instead of a hardship.
Flexibility – one of Appeal’s watchwords
It’s not only in al fresco dining plans where being flexible is an advantage. All of Appeal’s bespoke products are designed to fit your interior’s requirements, not the other way round. And similarly our award-winning service has won those awards because we fit our no-obligation design consultations, as well as the timing of installation, around your needs.
We also offer a choice of flexible, competitive and low interest payment options to suit your budget and allow you to make that home improvement you want right now, with just a 20 per cent deposit.