Summer is upon us and that means more opportunities to indulge yourself and your friends with the time-honored ritual of the weekend picnic. But what if you want to move beyond the BBQ and cheeseboard delights of old?
Such a pretense-free occasion calls for simple to prepare, easy-to-use solutions. Check out these tips on a healthy, delicious and successful soiree.
For the food
The Sicilian muffaletta. No, this is not an infamous mafioso hitman, but rather the name of the simplest and most delicious large format sandwich that you may ever eat. Simply prepare it at home as one giant sandwich, slice it into the appropriate portions, wrap them up and put it in your basket.
Friends with dietaries? Let’s kill two birds with this gluten free and vegan friendly green herb salad. If there are some vegetarians in the crowd, or you really just can’t bear a picnic without cheese, pack a separate side of buffalo mozzarella to tear apart and mix through after serving.
Do your friends have a sweet tooth? Hey, they’re only human after all! Ditch the hassle of baking a cake, or the living nightmare that is transporting and serving ice cream in public. Go to your grocer and get yourself the most audacious looking watermelon or pineapple available. Slice it up in the park, serve it to your friends and rejoice in the sunshine as the sweet juices of nature’s candy cleanse your palette.
For the drinks
Boozy picnics can be great, but the aftermath can be the undoing of your grand Sunday plans or your Monday morning 9am. So, for a booze-free picnic you should try making a batch of cold brew tea. You can get as creative as you like with these delicious, healthy and highly refreshing concoctions. Steep the mixture of leaves, spices and dried or fresh fruits in a large container of near boiling water, let it cool naturally, cover it up and then pop it in the fridge overnight. Strain the next day, put it in a thermos and take it to the park with you.
If you’re after something a little harder than tea, then try natural wine. What initially started as a small movement, natural wine is now a phenomenon that has been disrupting the traditional wine world for more than a few years. It involves organic grapes, and wine making practices that use no chemical adjustments, filtering or fining of the wine, and zero or very minimal amounts of preservative 220 (sulphur dioxide). It’s simply the fermented grape juice in a bottle. It has on-trend wine folk and health conscious drinkers in a flap not only for its unique taste, but its widely rumored “hangover-less” after effect.
The perfect picnic administrative checklist
Not as boring as it sounds. This list simply helps you have fun and avoid some surprisingly common pitfalls of picnic planning:
- Check the weather in advance and on the day and always have a plan B
- Acquire a picnic blanket that has a waterproof underside (seriously important)
- Bring a bluetooth speaker (with full charge)
- Bring a bottle opener with a corkscrew (see: natural wines)
- Bring sunscreen (hello, it’s Australia)
- Bring water (you’ll be thankful the next day)
- Bring a frisbee (fun for all)
- Bring a bocce set (risky fun for all)
- Maybe bring a hackeysack? (controversial and fun for some.)