We have been blessed with some sunny, warmer days lately. Albeit only a few precious sunny moments this Spring, the more I want to get out there and enjoy those sun filled moments. Pulling a PICNIC together last minute can be totally easy and yummy. There are a few ingredients best to avoid using and packing a basket requires a few essentials. And whether you are solo-picnicking spur-of-the-moment in the garden or preparing a well-planned outdoor family feast at the beach or park – a few basic guidelines will make it a success. So kick off your heels and feel the grass between your toes.
Here my top tips for pulling together a perfect picnic:
IT’S A PARTY Spontaneous or planned, consider this like any other party you put on, only you change venue. So the basic WHO to invite, WHAT to bring, WHEN and WHERE to meet and WHY you are celebrating is a good start. Consider what the right time of day is for the chosen location. Sunshine can be blissful but full sun blasting at midday in middle of summer can be a bit much to take. HOW to get it all together is an essential question: pick a location, bring something to sit on and pack delish food and refreshing cool drinks.
PICNIC-FRIENDLY FOOD Individual containers (plastic or jars) per person work best, this way you can cater for any allergies or food diets. Use a little washi tape to label the jars; a little personal message gives an extra foodie touch. You can use paper, plastic or regular cutlery, plates and glasses or cups, it is really up to you but a combination is usually best.
Either you bring a cooler keeping drinks cool or you bring 2 or 3 large bottles flavoured water and jars with ice cubes. When serving champagne or wine a cooling sleeve is a must.
Think of something to serve immediately with the first drinks requiring little or no set up: vegetable sticks with dips, spicy popcorn, or a nut and dried fruit mix. Also bring a baguette to cut or pull pieces and dip in extra virgin good quality olive oil, always a hit.
Next is a SAVOURY threat such as a salad, a grilled vegetables or a chilled soup. Avoid mayonnaise, instead make a simple salad dressing with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper in separate a jar, ready to shake and pour over. If you serve poultry or meat, keep it cool, best to avoid fish and eggs. If you make a salad choose a robust leave like radicchio that doesn’t wilt instantaneously. Grilled veg are always great. For a bit more body add fresh herbs and spices to a grain such a quinoa, pasta, bulgur or rice and serve with a red or green pesto.
Something SWEET can be as simple a jar with seasonal fruit and rose or orange blossom water or a gorgeous yummy lemon bar or ginger biscuit. And if an ice cream truck is nearby, go on and taste summer, it is around the corner.
DON’T FORGET Bring extra of everything: cutlery, napkins and paper towels. And don’t forget to pack: wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, insect repellant and a trash bag. It can still be quite cool on the lawn in spring so bring a few extra pillows, throws or large scarves to fight the chill.
Tip: bring a cutting board and knife – not only to cut the bread but can also be useful to stabilize the drinks.
all photos taken by Sandra Slawinski –shoes by Patricia Blanchet from Rose Shop Brussels – Dille & Kamille napkins and jars – Eric Bompard Cashmere scarf