The perfect ingredients for a picnic
There’s something satisfying about grabbing a rug, some food and drinks and taking it to the park or the back garden to spend a relaxing afternoon in the sun – or if the weather’s turned for the worst, your porch or lounge floor will do!
But before you venture anywhere, there’s plenty of prep and planning to be done. From choosing the right kit to the tastiest transportable treats, we’ve got you covered so you can avoid any alfresco eating fails and host the perfect picnic.
Firstly, you need to think carefully about how you are going to transport your goods from your home. For those looking to host a traditional picnic, a wicker-style picnic basket is always a hit, however there are also picnic backpacks available for those who fancy a more convenient way of carrying the items – or a large box works well if you’re limited with options!
A throw or blanket is essential for a picnic. Make sure it’s light in colour so it doesn’t get too warm in the sun and it needs to be big enough to have a little nap on once everyone’s bellies are full. You can also add a little more comfort to your outing with a couple of cushions.
It’s worth adding that you should pack your stuff in reverse order to make it easy for you to get the items you need when you first arrive out – making sure your blanket is at the top.
The food is the main event at any picnic. For traditional picnic fodder, opt for sandwiches, sausage rolls, freshly sliced meats, a baguette, and an assortment of cheeses. You might fancy trying your hand at making some of these from scratch, such as the sausage rolls (you can find a recipe here) or baking your own bread… but there’s also no harm in popping down to your local supermarket and stocking up on a couple of bits and bobs – sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of both!
A general rule of thumb is to make it finger-friendly. Other great food options include chicken legs, crisps, breadsticks and dips, hummus and pitta bread, carrot and celery sticks, olives and chorizo – which are all easy to prepare and even easier to eat!
To ensure smooth running on the day, make sure everything is ready in advance, with your food already chopped up into bitesize pieces (and popped onto cocktail sticks if you’re using these), and your sandwiches already prepared and cut into triangles. For the little ones, why not cook a pizza in the morning, let it cool and cut it up ready to go? Then all you have to do is place everything on the rug when you arrive and let everyone help themselves.
It may be worth bringing a couple of plates and pieces of cutlery along just in case, and containers are also ideal - not only for keeping things fresh and protected en-route, but it also provides somewhere to store any leftovers so you can have these for lunch the next day.
The biggest pitfall most people make is not being mindful of the practicalities of the food you are bringing. Shortbread and flapjack are great as a sweet treat afterwards, but chocolate can melt quickly on a hot day and whilst ice lollies may seem like a great idea to cool off, these will quickly turn into liquid after leaving the freezer.
No picnic is complete without the cool beverages, and brightly coloured, fruity-flavoured drinks are a must! Bring a bottle of fruit punch or homemade elderflower cordial for everyone to enjoy – and if you’re looking for something a little stronger, a bottle of prosecco or Pimms and lemonade with some fresh fruit are the ultimate picnic tipples.
We fully appreciate that sipping bubbly from a plastic beaker isn’t quite the same, so invest in a couple of stylish picnic glasses to avoid any breakages during your outing – and don’t forget a wine cooler or cool bag to keep the drinks chilled along with a corkscrew or bottle opener (if needed)!
Whilst the wine may go down easy, make sure there’s plenty of water on hand to keep everyone hydrated. Chilled water with a few slices of cucumber or lemon creates a wonderfully refreshing drink on a warm summer’s day.
Create the perfect picnic ambience with a spot of music. Bring a portable speaker and stream music to it from your phone to liven up the atmosphere – although make sure you’re mindful of others in the vicinity and keep the volume to an acceptable level.
Additional items you might want to bring along are wet-wipes, some sun cream, rubbish bags, insect repellent - if your picnic continues past sunset, and some citronella candles - to keep those pesky wasps from gate crashing your picnic.
We hope you have a lovely picnic - whether its outside or inside depending on the weather! Let us know if you have any other picnic tips and share your photos with us on our social channels, using the hashtag #KeepmoatHomes.