We all know food holidays are arbitrary. But this is one that actually makes a lot of sense: National Watermelon Day on August 3, smack dab in the middle of a sticky summer. Allow the juicy fruit to cool you off in a myriad of ways around Tampa Bay.
READ ABOUT FLORIDA WATERMELON
Tampa Bay Times food critic Laura Reiley tells the juicy (sorry) tale of a giant, iconic Florida watermelon brought back to life 100 years after it disappeared. Read the story.
MAKE THIS ICY TREAT
Granita is an Italian-style dessert that's basically just flavored shaved ice. Times food editor Michelle Stark walks you through how to make a Watermelon Lime version here. It comes together in about 5 minutes, and the freezer does the rest of the work. Extremely necessary for a hot August day.
ENJOY A PINT
Largo brewery Arkane Aleworks makes a watermelon gose beer called One in a Melon that seems perfect for sipping today. It's a sour beer that clocks in at 4.7 percent alcohol by volume. Read more from our bar reviewer Justin Grant here. And check out the brewery's current tap list here. 2480 E Bay Drive, Largo, (727) 270-7117.
GRAB A POP
Flavors vary at the three Tampa Bay locations of this gourmet ice pop chain, but be on the lookout for the Watermelon Hibiscus or the Watermelon Chia, bright pink and bursting with watermelon flavor. Locations in St. Petersburg — 627 Central Ave.; (727) 498-6536 — and Tampa — 1600 E 8th Ave., Suite E100, (813) 644-4289; and 702 S Village Circle, (813) 442-4387.
EAT THIS DISH
One of the signature appetizers at the Mill in downtown St. Petersburg is the Watermelon Bruschetta, which makes watermelon the star of the dish instead of the usual tomato. Diced watermelon is combined with tomato and cucumber, then piled on thick slices of feta-smothered toast ($12). A very on-point shareable for the season. 200 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, (727) 317-3930.