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With the last snowflake gone and the arrival of fresh spring air and warm sunshine, I look forward to family gatherings and outdoor meals!

Growing up in a large Italian-Canadian family meant many a summer Sunday afternoon of good food, home-made red wine and the loud and loving laughter of the family. As we gathered under the umbrella of the maple tree in my nonni’s backyard, we savoured those wonderful summer days. With Nonno at the bbq and nonna in the kitchen, we knew a wonderful meal was on its way!

There is a lot of talent in my family. To start, my nonno is an inventor and a builder extraordinaire. From his wishing-well barbeques to his inventive multi-purpose tools, there is nothing my nonno can’t do. That includes growing the most delicious and vibrant garden vegetables that keep our families stocked all summer long! And my dad, well he’s done everything from renovate, design and build his own home to roofing, car repairs and general maintenance. But, those are just his hobbies! In his spare time he’s a computer jockey!

On the other hand, my nonna is the boss of the kitchen! Her sauce and lasagna are the best in the world and no one beats the flavour of her meatballs, or bbq sausage, steak and ribs. My mom (the Canadian, eh?) has learned to master some fine Italian cuisine over the years, but doesn’t mess with lasagna or meatballs. She knows there’s no competing with perfection!

With my family’s heritage, there is no question about what sparked my passion for creating great outdoor spaces for family and friends to gather for meals and celebrations.

Starting this May, please visit my blog each month for a new recipe idea and hosting tip to incorporate into your outdoor entertaining, courtesy of my mom.

Return soon to see what delicious recipe my mom has in store for May!