Summer is here and when the sun deigns to shine, there’s nothing better than a picnic. But if you don’t want to settle for soggy sandwiches and a run-of-the-mill park, there are plenty of ways to make your picnic pretty, personal and full of culinary delights.
The menu: If your sandwiches always seem to curl and your cucumber ends up soggy, take some advice from the experts. The Great British Chefs website has a collection of recipes created specifically for picnics by famous cooks. So go classic with Galton Blackison’s Scotch Egg, switch up your sandwiches with Shaun Rankin’s sun-dried tomato bread, add a slice of Tom Aikens’ asparagus quiche – then finish things off with Dominic Chapman’s easy lemon tart. All you need now is a glass of Pimm’s.
Location, location, location: Picnic in a park, on a riverbank, downs or moors, and near the coast and you’ll get the best of Britain. Locations only available by the country’s many footpaths are usually worth the hike. If you’re going to more exotic climes, think outside the box. Beaches, mountains, poolsides – and even in the sea itself bring a new dynamic to the humble picnic.
The accessories: Whilst we’re not suggesting that everyone needs or wants the smartest hamper in the park, (for all those that do, you’ll find no better than Fortnum and Mason’s) - paying attention to the detail pays off. So pick out a nice tablecloth, put some wild flowers in jam jars or scatter some seashells around. Then use Kilner jars, shot glasses, old-fashioned milk bottles or empty scented candle pots to serve or store things in.
The lighting: Picnics don’t have to be soaked in sunlight. Romantic for two or magical for a group of friends, an after-dark picnic lit up with fairy lights, candles or simply the stars is perfect for long, warm nights.
If all else fails... Call in the professionals. Just as home beauty services and home food delivery have become significantly more sophisticated in recent years, so too the world of professional, pre-packaged picnics is blossoming. Available from a range of restaurants nationwide (try Carluccio's) - we’re also quite taken by London local, KuPP. Available in user-friendly takeaway bags, they’re full of Scandinavian delights such as meatballs, gravadlax, pickled vegetables, crispbread and potato salad.
Ready to dine al fresco?