Summer is about more than cookouts, ice cream cones and sandy toes. It's about the freedom to indulge, whatever your pleasure. If casual, cool and elegant sound like a perfect summer, Tavolo (www.tavolo.com and AOL Keyword: Tavolo), the premier online retailer for consumers who love to cook, dine and entertain, is leading the way. In its continuing monthly series of inspired entertaining concepts, Tavolo puts a fresh spin on the season with the announcement today of its July feature, Summer Chic.

"Certainly summer is largely about being casual," said Marcelle Langan DiFalco, Tavolo's vice president of content. "But there's always a yen for relaxed sophistication. Summer Chic is the urban-style antidote to the sandy, sticky, rustic life of the cabin, beach or backyard -- without being overly formal or even remotely stuffy."

Central to Tavolo's mission is helping people create memorable moments around the table by teaming sensational menu concepts with distinctive looks in tableware. In this month's feature, Rosenthal's Vario line, with its distinctive design and brushed-metal accents, creates a vital yet simple background that accentuates the beauty of the food.

The Summer Chic menu, created in Tavolo's test kitchens, starts with appetizers of Ossetra caviar and smoked salmon on Corn-Chive Pancakes, continues with a summery Chilled Yellow Tomato Soup, followed by luxurious Zucchini Spaghettini with Lobster Sauce. It finishes with incredible French cheeses, Hand-Painted Cookies and French Roast Coffee.

"Tavolo's entertaining themes are organized as a complete package, offering an uncluttered magazine-like presentation of the menu, cooking techniques and other tips needed to pull the party together," noted DiFalco. "And visitors benefit from our knowledgeable merchandisers (or field buyers), who scour the world for items that will lend exceptional style to the dinner's mood. Our shopping pages are as much inspirational as they are functional."

Summer at Tavolo means an emphasis on bright, fresh fare. Next month: A south-of-the-border theme. "Latin American classics in contemporary settings," said DiFalco, "create the perfect finale for summer entertaining." The site will feature casual, festive kitchen and tableware selections with truly caliente recipes.

About Tavolo, Inc.

Tavolo (www.Tavolo.com), in exclusive partnership with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the nation's foremost center for culinary education, is the leading online retailer and destination for consumers who cook, dine and entertain. The site offers thousands of specialty foods-including a signature collection of more than 300 private-label ingredients and prepared foods, professional-quality cooking tools, and brand-name kitchen appliances including All-Clad, Braun, KitchenAid and Wusthof. Tavolo also provides thousands of recipes, hundreds of cooking tips, buying guides and other expert cooking information and advice, in addition to useful customized features. Tavolo has an exclusive marketing relationship with American Express Publishing and is a premier retailer of gourmet foods and kitchenware on AOL and Yahoo! The company has content licensing agreements with most major cookbook publishers and more than 100 renowned chefs.