As the weather gets warmer and the nights get longer, there’s no better time of year to pack up your wicker basket and head to the park for a sunny day picnic. A picnic is the perfect dining choice for long summer nights and balmy evenings.
There’s a common consensus that picnics have become a relic of a time gone by, and the quintessentially British pastime has fallen to the wayside with the emergence of food festivals and al fresco restaurant dining. But is this really the case?
Who wouldn’t love to tailor their menu to personal preference and save a quick quid on summer wines and beers? If you feel like you picnic packing skills could stand a brush-up, we’re here to help with the complete guide to packing the perfect hamper.
The first thing to consider is how to transport all your delicious goodies without a) spoiling the food and b) bashing it into oblivion. We recommend investing in a refrigerated box to prevent heat-sensitive food from getting contaminated, and it’s a great way to keep salads and drinks cool.
Tupperware is a staple of any British food experience. Chances are, you have boxes upon boxes of Tupperware stored away in cupboards and these com in really handy on picnic days. Sort everything into categories (sandwiches, fruit, raw meat, cooked meat etc) and pack it all into separate containers.
If you’re taking wine or a pre-mixed summer cocktail, get your hands on a jug or carafe to decant the bottle into. For the wine, it’ll help it to breathe and flourish and the cocktails will just look so much better being poured from a nice jug.
You have two choices when it comes to the main food options: hot or cold. We believe that a picnic should be cold, pre-prepared food that can be picked out throughout the day. However, you may want to bring a disposable barbeque for a step up to a barbeque picnic.
Sandwiches, homemade salad (with dressing packed separately), fruit and antipasti goods are the main staples that you should always take on a picnic. Perfect for filling, but not too heavy snacking throughout the day.
For desserts and sweets, bring finger cakes and individual portions of Victoria sponge, cream cakes, scones with cream and jam and chocolate trifles. They’re loved by everyone and will certainly prove popular.
We’re wary about calling a barbeque a picnic, but for some people it’s preferable and more of an event to bring a barbeque for a hot summers day. For food, you’ll need raw meat. This needs to be transported properly and safely to prevent any heat contamination and poorly tummies. Burgers, sausages/hot dogs, marinated ribs, prawns in sweet chilli sauce are all perfect for grilling up a storm this summer.
After a heavy barbeque, keep your desserts simple and small. Bring strawberries and raspberries with plenty of caster sugar and serve alongside vanilla cream, or whip up some jelly the day before – the easy-make packs are perfect for a quick fix and hold their shape for much longer than the homemade recipes (unless you’re an expert!)
There’s nothing quite like a summer cocktail on a cloudless day, with the sun beating down on you, a summery refreshment can really do wonders for your mood. Mix up Raspberry vodka with strawberry lemonade and crème de cassis, with a generous helping of ice and strawberries and mint to garnish. Take the ingredients separately and mix up on the day for a great refresher.
And who could forget the prosecco? Light and fruity, it’s everyone’s favourite drink at the moment and can add a real element of class to your picnic in the park.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a basket, grab the food, grab the prosecco and pack up your perfect picnic plate for an unforgettable summer day.
What do you pack in your hamper? Tweet us @Gifted_Penguin and let us know how you prepare!