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A Brief History Of Outdoor Dining

Here At Our Hotel In The Brecon Beacons We Love Nothing More Than Bringing Together Family, Friends, Food And Wine At An Outdoor Feast.

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The History Of Alfresco Dining Around The World

Today, outdoor dining can mean different things to different people depending on your location in the world. In Britain, outdoor dining means picnics in the park and afternoon tea in the garden, whereas in South Africa it involves firing up a braai every Sunday ready for a feast of meats.

We thought we would look back at the origins of our beloved alfresco dining as we look forward to the first Tuscan Terrace Grill of the year at our restaurant in Brecon

The history of outdoor dining goes back to medieval times, when cooked meats and pastries would be eaten before setting off on a hunt, this is almost certainly how the modern day picnic originated. A picnic hasn’t always been a formal way of eating and it is defined as any occasion when a packed meal is eaten outdoors, particularly during an outing to the countryside.

In the 18th century, Americans created pleasure gardens. These private spaces were created for families to take a stroll, play outdoor games and enjoy the beautiful surroundings whilst enjoying a small outdoor meal. These pleasure gardens soon became a trend in German beer gardens and distinctly in tea gardens when prohibition banned all public drinking.

The advances of the motor car and public transport created a boom in picnics in America in the 20th century as families, school children and work groups suddenly had the freedom to travel farther afield to the countryside for a day of outdoor games and picnicking. Picnic hampers also became a popular accessory around this time turning a casual original outdoor snack into a formal but fun outdoor meal.

The phrase al fresco is borrowed from Italian for “in the cool [air]”, however today it has been adapted to mean dining ‘in the open air’. Al fresco dining has been a tradition in European countries for hundreds of years and in the mid 20th century America adapted al fresco dining into rooftop restaurants and pavements in cosmopolitan cities such as New York.

Today tourists flock to European cities in the warmer seasons to enjoy the incredible outdoor dining and cafe culture. Most cities now offer a choice of either indoor or outdoor dining, and in Australia and England, almost every pub has a beer garden, where meals can be enjoyed outdoors (weather dependant!).

There’s a saying that food tastes better when enjoyed outdoors and we couldn’t agree more.

Join us at our Brecon restaurant this summer for our Sunday Slow Grill and enjoy delicious slow cooked Breconshire pork with caramelised apples or a mouth-watering shoulder of Welsh lamb, both with all the trimmings, for just £35 for adults and £14.50 for children 10 and under. Find out more here and you could make a night of it as we have a special offer combining the Sunday Grill and an overnight stay. 

The dates for 2017 are Sunday 21st May, Sunday 18th June, Sunday 23rd July and Sunday 13th August.

Book now to avoid disappointment. Call us on 01874 730 371 to make your reservation. Buon appetito!

Meet The Team: Chef De Partie

Our Brecon Beacons hotel has not only been in the family for more than 70 years, it is also comprised of a dedicated and hardworking team that has become our extended family. Here, we introduce Krishna Gurung, our Chef de Partie, one of six chefs in the brigade.

Perfect Picnic Spots in the Brecon Beacons

Enjoy a delicious picnic at one or all of our top three favourite scenic spots!