We’ve all enjoyed the great weather over the past couple of months – none more so than the thousands of pubs and restaurants across the country who, according to industry researchers, the Peach Factory, saw their takings rise almost five per cent in June compared to the same month last year – and the weather in July has been even better.
It’s hardly surprising after a cold, wet and miserable winter and spring, which kept so many of us huddled in a corner by the TV, that folk should want to get out and celebrate the weather. Just sitting outside in the sunshine, enjoying a meal and drink has made even the most ordinary beer gardens seem almost Mediterranean. And, like those great Italian family meals we see on movies and the TV – the whole family can get involved, from grandparents to toddlers. In Mediterranean countries it’s normal for several generations to eat together, whether inside or out – at home or in a restaurant. And family dining’s not an occasional affair, but an integral part of family life.
But, in this country, it seems that it does take a heat wave to get our extended families together, which is a shame because we have so many great pubs and restaurants that can make these occasions really special regardless of the weather.
There’s always some concern about taking kids, especially to a pub, so choose the venue carefully and make sure they are used to catering for children.
Then let the children get used to these occasions.
If going out for meal is a novelty they are much more likely to get over-excited. And, while your great aunt can probably be counted on to behave reasonably well (so long as you keep an eye on the sherry) it’s tough for kids to control their desire to explore new places and test the limits of what can and can’t be done.
But make a big family get-together a regular event and you’ll find that the kids will pay much more attention to the occasion than to the surroundings. Don’t rush the affair either. The secret to a successful family meal out is to leave plenty of time for talk and relaxation.
Value for Money
We may have seen the best of the heat wave, but don’t let that cramp your style. Get in touch with your extended family and organise a regular get together. It’s not only good for the soul but great for harmonious family relations.
It doesn’t have to be a gourmet affair – there a plenty of good pubs and restaurants that offer incredible value for money and will go out of their way to put together a menu for you that meets your budget and your taste.