There’s nothing quite like al fresco dining; taking in the delightful scenery whilst enjoying good food under the warm sun with a delicious tipple in your hand. It’s a great way to bring together and enjoy the company of friends and family, explore the beautiful countryside near you and get some fresh air and Vitamin D – it all helps the food taste a million times better doesn’t it?
If you’re struggling for location inspiration, the national trust has some great suggestions throughout the country for the best picnic spots in your area. There is also the beach, your local park or hey, even the back garden!
How To Master The Picnic Menu
The most important part of being champion of the picnickers though, let’s be honest, is all in the food. Soggy sandwiches, wilting salads and sun warmed drinks are common occurrences – but we don’t have to picnic like this anymore people! There is another way!
Finger food is most definitely the most sensible of options as it allows you to forget about the environment damaging plastic cutlery and utensils, so yes, sandwiches are still on the menu. Rather than the supermarket sliced loaf though, why not try a nice crusty bread roll like a ciabatta that can withhold a good bit of filling without disintegrating. Zing up your chicken and salad with a slather of green pesto or swap the dull ham and cheese for a New York inspired pastrami, swiss cheese and gherkin bagel. if you’re really averse to bread though, give some of these brilliant pinwheel recipes a go.
It’s probably safest to avoid anything that could get smelly, especially if it is a warm day as these will not be appealing once they see sunlight and the overpowering scents can permeate into the rest of the food. Smelly cheeses, egg mayo and strong fish can stay at home for the day.
Other great food ideas include mini individual quiches (saving taking a knife), sticky chicken drumsticks, scotch eggs (try this homemade recipe by Jamie Oliver) and tortilla chips and veggie crudités with dips. For dessert why not whip up some yummy Florentines, sumptuous chocolate cake pops or some refreshing fresh fruit.
Stylish Containers Make The Host With The Most
Keep all of your food fresh with airtight storage containers like this 3-tier container by Rosti Mepal. The three separate containers mean that you can store different types of food together without compromising the flavour of each.
If being eco-friendly is a concern of yours then, dum dum dum… let us introduce you to the wonder that is Bee’s Wrap! This reusable, sustainable food storage is made from organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin – a natural alternative to plastic wrap. It’s really easy to use as it is malleable and shapes around your food from the warmth of your hands and then as it cools the seal will hold its shape. It has natural antibacterial properties so it can be used again and again, just wash with soap and cool water and hang to dry. They come in various sizes to cover dishes, wrap sandwiches or store bits of leftovers.
Just because you’re carrying around your weight in food doesn’t mean that you can’t look stylish whilst doing it. The Beau & Elliot range of insulated lunch and cool bags are not only practical but come in loads of bright and colourful designs and most even look like a stylish handbag – not a lunch box - but still keep its contents cool. Most designs have matching water bottles and vacuum flasks as well and are made from a food safe, wipe clean material inside and out.
What Else to Pack – The Picnic Essentials
There are a few essential pieces that can be easy to overlook when your packing up your picnic. If you’re one for a little alcoholic beverage on your picnic excursions then firstly don’t forget to pack a corkscrew/bottle opener. There are also some really excellent portable wine glasses available that can be washed and reused. Take the Sagaform Picnic Double Walled Wine Glass with Lid for example. It keeps your wine at its optimum temperature and the secure lid keeps bugs and dirt out, genius! There are tons of cool drink bottles available too, from insulated thermos to vacuum to self-filtering, which are perfect for on the go.
If you’d prefer the kids to have some utensils and crockery to eat with on your picnic, then pack something like these bamboo sets. They’re environmentally friendly compared to plastic and are break resistant and reusable too. The bright animal designs will also be loved by little ones.
For the clean-up, don’t forget to pack some napkins and some bin bags. Leaving litter can be really harmful to the environment and local wildlife so be sure to be respectful and pick up after yourself.
Last but not least, the crème de la crème of picnic mastery is a good quality blanket. You could err on the side of caution with a waterproof rug which won’t limit you even if the weather hasn’t been great. Or you could go down the more traditional route with a 100% wool blanket like these ones from Tweedmill available in a variety of colours and patterns. They’re beautifully soft and luxurious and double as a throw for at home.
A Great Time Every Time
Follow our simple guide and you will always have a lovely spread to enjoy, whether it’s a romantic date with your partner or a day out with the family. The entire park will be green with envy at your perfect picnic. Smug smile in place, raise your perfectly chilled drink to the al fresco amateurs and let them pick up some tips from the best.
If you’ve got some picnic recipes or ideas that make things a little easier, we’d love to hear about them. Find us on Social to interact, see new blog posts, up and coming products and alerts for sales and reductions.