Creating an Italian Summer in the UK

Jun 30, 2023Cristian Sforza

Summer in Italy typically evokes images of long days spent at the beach, ice cream gelatos, and casual barbecues with family and friends. While the UK cannot always match Italy's long, hot summers, there are plenty of ways that you can create an authentic Italian experience, either in the comfort of your own home or in the great outdoors. 

Let’s face it, when the sun is shining bright in the UK, most of us want to savour every moment as much as possible. If you are an aficionado of authentic Italian food, customs, and traditions, then why not make this summer one to experience as if you were perusing the streets of Rome or voyaging across the of Venice? 

At Valentina Deli & Kitchen, we want to make traditional Italian cuisine as accessible as possible to everyone. With the summer well and truly here in the UK, we want to provide you with plenty of inspiration and ideas on how to create a genuine Italian summertime experience. Here is how to soak in La Dolce Vita closer to home!

From Spring to Summer

‘Al fresco’ dining becomes one of the staples of summertime. As the sun lingers around for longer providing a calming and stunning glow to the evenings, it’s a perfect time to eat. Valentina Deli & Kitchen provides an authentic Italian al fresco dining experience at both of its restaurants in East Sheen or Weybridge.

This summer is a perfect time to try some freshly prepared and exquisite Italian summer dishes like Tartufo al Pistacchio, Misto di Salumi, Bucatini Cacio e Pepe, and Fiori di Zucca, to name but a few. All our Italian restaurant dishes are prepared using the finest ingredients, sourced from trustworthy Italian producers, so you know that you’re getting a truly authentic Italian experience when visiting our Weybridge or East Sheen restaurants. We’re confident that you won’t find a closer Italian summer dinner experience anywhere else - it’ll be just like you’re there!

How to Create an Italian Summer Experience for Yourself

Cucina Italiana

Start by bringing Italian cuisine to your kitchen. Whether it’s cooking classic Italian staple dishes like cacio e pepe, risotto, Pizza Caprese and Amatriciana, or going a bit more left-field and trying Parmigiana di Melanzane, Arancini, or chicken cacciatora, be sure to source only the highest-quality ingredients. Or if you want to really push the envelope of Italian creativity - and if you love seafood - try a Mari e Monti (‘sea and mountains’) risotto! Serve with a simple salad of rocket, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, olive oil, and bruschetta. 

If you want inspiration for an Italian dessert, try affogato - a mixture of vanilla ice cream or gelato topped with a shot of espresso. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, why not consider panna cotta, a silky custard flavoured with berries? It’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth. 

Whet your appetite with a glass of chilled limoncello, or for an alternative Italian aperitivo, maybe an Aperol or Campari spritz will do the trick. As for an Italian summer wine, you cannot go wrong with a Dolcetto d’Alba, Solstice Pinot Grigio, Comino dei Prati, or a chilled Vermentino or Frascati

You can find the finest, freshest ingredients at either of our Italian delis (located also in Weybridge and East Sheen) or via our online store. From kitchen staples like pasta, rice and grains to organic condiments and sauces, as well as antipasti, you’re sure to find what you need at Valentina’s online shop

Our wine and liqueur shop boasts an incredible variety of fine drinks that are sure to complement your choice of meal. Exceptional wine is instrumental in any Italian meal whether enjoyed in a restaurant or at home, and we are confident that you won’t find a more authentic or delicious choice than with Valentina. 

Soak Up the Sun

Italians are known for enjoying leisurely beach holidays, and while these may be in short supply in the UK, there’s no reason not to head to a nearby coast or lake when the sun is blazing. Take a ‘passeggiata’ (a leisurely walk or stroll) along the water as the sun sets and take the opportunity to stop for a gelato or granita as you soak in the vista and evening atmosphere.

Italian picnic food is great to enjoy while the sun is out, whether it’s a collection of antipasti or traditional Italian salads, bruschetta appetisers, tortellini skewers, or caprese sandwiches, be sure to take a comfortable blanket and a cooler that can carry all your essentials. Oh, and do not forget the wine!

For another Italian summertime drink idea, why not try a delightful Pesche al Vino (‘peaches in wine’)? It’s a perfect end-of-meal dish that can make an excellent dessert substitute. Submerging the peaches in white or red wine creates an almost syrup-like liquid that is exquisite to taste, and once you try it, you’ll want to create it repeatedly! 

While it may not have Italy’s temperate climate or gelato on every corner, the UK offers plenty of ways to indulge in an Italian summer. Anytime you are craving an escape to Bella Italia, let these suggestions transport you. Buona estate e buon appetito!

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