20 flavours of summer: A countdown of the
top tastes of the season

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It’s the season of garden veg, al fresco lunches and fresh cocktails – so pick up a fork and graze our dégustation menu of everything that’s delicious right now.

1. Keep it simple, keep it tasty

Florence Knight, the 26-year-old head chef who made her name at Polpetto in Soho, has authored her first book, One: A Cook and Her Cupboard. She takes inspiration from her kitchen store cupboard, creating dishes from basic ingredients such as olive oil, mustard, ketchup, eggs, honey and chocolate. Published in July by Saltyard

2. Dive in!

Indulge in a little poolside dining. London's best post-swim tables are at the cafés of Brockwell and Serpentine lidos; Bristol lido even offers dip-and-dine packages.

3. Fancy a Burmese?

The newly opened country is the latest culinary trend, and what better way to appreciate Burma's cuisine than at the table of a real home cook? The Hush Hush Dining Club is held in a secret London location; chef Debbie Riehl creates traditional dishes mohingar (a spicy fish broth), laphet thote (a salad of pickled tea leaves), and magyi yea kare (tamarind sorbet). Hushhushdining.com

4. Dramatic dinners

At the Edinburgh Fringe Dinner is Swerved combines music and drama with a four-course menu, served by theatre collective Food for Thought. You'll be given directions to a secret top-floor venue to enjoy a "culinary journey… exploring sensory perception and eating ritual." 3-25 August; edfringe.com

5. Fresh orange

Last year, Aperol spritz was a hip drink; it's not any more, since those garish ads (how mainstream!) instructing: "3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, 1 part soda". Actually, this is good news. Don't drink them in a bar (£6 a go!), make your own.

6. My Cool Allotment

Lia Leendertz and Mark Diacono celebrate enthusiastic people doing brilliant things on their plots in this pretty book (Pavilion, £14.99).

7. Boxes of delight

Ditch the picnic basket in favour of the tiffin tin this summer. Toast have a utilitarian stainless-steel number, but M&S's primary-coloured box is also covetable. If you're still transitioning from twee, Nkuku sells prettily patterned enamelled tins. Nkuku.com

8. The Dorset seafood festival

Our own Mark Hix is on-hand at this fish fiesta; try his famous Fish Dogs – breaded fillets with mushy peas and tartare sauce in a convenient hotdog shape – at Weymouth Harbour in a fortnight's time. Swordfish kebabs are also worth a go, but with more than 90 stalls there'll be something for all. 13-14 July, dorsetseafood.co.uk

9. Shall we take tea outside?

There's no more perfectly British pastime than afternoon tea – for best results, go outdoors. The Orchard Tea Garden at Grant-chester near Cambridge lets you sup under the shade of ancient apple trees; step back in time at the 1920s-style Rocke Cottage Tearooms in Shropshire. Orchard-grant-chester.com; rockecottagetearooms.co.uk

10. Green party

The sandwich chain Eat has stolen a march on Starbucks with its new 'matcha chiller'; in Japan, the green-tea version of a Frappuccino has long been a 'bucks favourite.

11. The Art of Food

It closed two years ago, but the legend of El Bulli and its head chef Ferran Adrià lives on. Somerset House is holding a retrospective exhibition about what was the world's best restaurant, taking a behind-the-scenes look at its kitchen and documenting Adrià's peerless research and preparation for his dishes. 5 July to 29 September; somersethouse.org.uk

12. Burger kings

The hottest new opening is Flesh and Buns in Covent Garden. The latest from hit ramen joint Bone Daddies, it sells tasty Taiwanese hirata buns: a folded, steamed bun stuffed with meat. Also bun-based, our appetite for charred dude food will be met by the arrival of US imports Shake Shack and Five Guys; a third branch of Honest Burger opens in Camden; and Rock Lobsta's "dirty" grub arrives at Mayfair nightclub Mahiki. Shakeshack.com; fiveguys.co.uk; honestburgers.co.uk; mahiki.com

13. Botanical bites

Kew Gardens is staging IncrEdibles, a festival of edible plants. A tropical section shows how many of our foods come from the rainforest; jelly-makers Bompas & Parr have created a boating lake – with a secret banana grotto. Kew.org

14. East Beach Café

Littlehampton, West Sussex, is a prime location for seaside fun; have lunch at the stunning Thomas Heatherwick-designed café. Eastbeachcafe.co.uk

15. Ariba!

Chinampas is bringing Mexico to Sheffield… the streetfood vendor makes agua frescas – "fresh waters" – to recipes gleaned across Mexico. Try pina: pineapples with a kick. Chinampas.co.uk

16. Big eat

Feast, a brand-new three-day food festival in Battersea Park, offers a huge collection of street and artisan foods. Catch a demo from MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo, sample liquid nitrogen ice creams and take classes in making sushi, cocktails and truffles. 16-18 August, foodiesfestival.com

17. DIY ice cream

Some of our favourite ice-cream makers publish recipe books this summer, sharing their secrets – and their more adventurous flavour combos, from gin & tonic sorbet to olive oil and smoked sea salt to candied bacon. In July, Julie Fisher of Tufnell Park-based Ruby Violet publishes Ice Cream Dreams; Claire Kelsey of fêted ice- cream van Ginger's Comfort Emporium has just released her book, Melt, while Ice Cream and Other Frozen Delights, by 23-year-old Ben Vear of dairy dynasty Winstones in the Cotswolds, is out in July.

18. High-dining restaurants

Aqua Shard and Hutong join Oblix at the top of the Shard this summer; sure, you'll pay through the nose for the privilege of eating at altitude, but the views are amazing. And high-rise dining is popular wherever there's a city: take the lift to Marco Pierre White at The Cube in Birmingham, the Varsity hotel's rooftop terrace in Cambridge, Sky Bar in Edinburgh, or Grape and Olive in Swansea. The-shard.com; thecube.co.uk; thevarsityhotel.co.uk; pointhoteledinburgh.co.uk; swansea.grapeandolive.co.uk

19. Fancy a beer cocktail?

Obviously, this has the potential to go very wrong – whether you mix yourself a fine mess at the end of a party, or make the mistake of buying those new 'summery' twists on commercial beers, with added lime/lemon/citric acid. But proper beer cocktails have been big in the US for a while; with the rise and rise of craft beer here, we've naturally followed…

Beer brand BrewDog led the way, and hold #MixDog competitions, while North Bar in Leeds are old – and dab – hands at mixing a mean beer cocktail. And it can be classy: Oskar's bar at Dabbous in London has a whole section of the menu dedicated to them. Brewdog.com; northbar.com; dabbous.co.uk

20. Little wonder

Small but perfectly formed, The Little Bar is a new addition to Mitcham Road, in the increasingly lively Tooting area of London. Recently opened by The Independent Magazine's former food and drink editor, Madeleine Lim, this bijou joint will tempt you with unusual wines and classic cocktails, Welsh artisan charcuterie, cheeses from Hamish Johnston – and pata negra jamon on hand in case you get peckish. With a secret garden, it's the perfect pitstop for a summer's evening. @LittleBarSW17

Life and Style
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