The year 2012 is fast coming to a close and it feels like the fastest one we’ve had so far. It came and went in a flash. But plenty has gone on, even in just the last few months, to keep us on our toes. A tonne of new cafes and restaurants have opened, some have closed, we’ve got our hands dirty in the garden over spring, danced the night away at Melbourne Music Week, launched projects with exciting collaborators, spent some time in Sydney and have grown the Broadsheet team a bit too.

We’re also eating way more mozzarella than we used to. Have you noticed? Italian food is back in force. But we’re not talking about the old Lygon Street days – there’s a new, contemporary style of Italian eatery emerging. Over the past few months, we’ve seen some big players in the food industry open Italian restaurants. We’re talking Chris Lucas with Baby, Neil Perry with Rosetta, then there are places like Rita's and the boys at Mazzitelli. These are restaurateurs with backgrounds in various cuisines, but have changed direction towards Italian food. We’re curious to know if this ‘trend’ is just a flight of fancy, or if it’s here to stay, so Hilary McNevin explored this new wave of Italian eateries.

But we’re not always thinking about food. Drinking is on our mind too, particularly at this time of year. And we’re starting early. We fell off the wagon at the start of the day (at breakfast time in fact) and found a few places where you can enjoy a drink with the most important meal of the day. Our resident bartender Dave Kerr spent a long, lucid morning with the guys at Bar Ampere and they explained a few things about which liquor to pair with your eggs. Later in the day, Adam Sherrett stopped into Der Raum's drink test laboratory, Trink Tank, to chat to the guys about how they come up with their cocktail wizardry. It’s more than mixed drinks with these guys, it’s a science, and they’re continually pushing the boundary on a global level on what and how we drink. They’re up early gathering ingredients, foraging for berries and mixing potions for us to sip. They’re travelling the world to pop up in Sweden and Germany and then back in Richmond at the bar to bring it all to us in crazy inventive ways. So we’ve put them on the cover for this summer issue.

And speaking of drinks to get us kicking, we’re wondering what we’re going to order on a hot summer morning when the thought of a latte or espresso is hard to swallow. We sent coffee man Henry Brink to do the rounds, sampling all the iced coffees, affogatos and cold-drip coffees in town to give you a rundown of some good summer sipping.

Contributing editor Dan Rule spent some time chatting with newly appointed NGV director Tony Ellwood about reconnecting with Melbourne’s artists and art lovers, while also on the art front, we flew to New York to visit curator John Thomson at celebrated gallery Foxy Production for our regular Dispatch column. Showing some creativity of a different kind, florist Poppy Lane demonstrates just how to make the perfect summer posy at home.

We’re looking forward to long hot days near the water, drifting into balmy evenings that never end. It’s a sweet summer offering and we’re ready to unwind, take a load off and sit down in the sun with some good reading. You should do the same.

You can find our print issue in cafes, shops and bars all over the city.