Summer is the perfect time for eating outdoors, whether an impromptu dinner in the garden or a gathering with friends on the beach. Like most things in life, picnics are best when they are simple, fuss-free affairs. So, what do you need to pack for a picnic? To help keep your summertime effortlessly fun, here are 5 tips to help you picnic like a pro.
1.Take the right equipment for picnic
A sharp yet safe knife is essential, for carving watermelon to chopping salami. These are brilliant and stay sharp for ages, and they have a covering to keep protect the blade (and your fingers). A decent bottle-opener is useful, especially when it can double as a spoon and a fork (great for adventurous types who like nifty gadgets). Or get one that is also a corkscrew if you’ll be drinking wine. A flask full of ice is brilliant for cooling drinks. For carrying your gear you can either go for a traditional wicker basket (high on Instagram appeal) or take an old apple crate that you can then use upside down as a table once you’ve unpacked. You should take some sting spray and citronella candles they are handy if you are being pestered by bugs.
2. Make it look lovely
If the first bite is with the eyes, then a picnic setting needs to look good. Think about little touches that will lift your spread from thrown-together to pulled-together. A jar of flowers (see also below), some pretty linen napkins, a beautiful blanket or throw and some colourful fruit will add to the visual appeal. You want people to feel relaxed and comfortable, and part of something special.
3. Keep kids happy
Most kids will be super excited to be eating outdoors, and will make their own fun. When you are setting up it’s fun to ask the kids to pick a few wildflowers (carefully and only where they are plentiful), and they can stick these in a jam jar of water once they are done.
It never hurts to have a few options handy in case people start getting bored. Dobble is a brilliantly simple game and comes in a neat little tin, so it’s perfect for carrying around. A soft rounders bat and a ball can be used for a big rounders game or improvised other ball games, like French cricket, and also as a light sabre (oh yes). Other games using the surroundings are fun, like Eye-Spy or a Nature hunt. Where you give everyone a challenge and see who can find things first. For example; find a feather, two snail shells, a yellow flower and a leaf.
4. Keep the food simple
It might be tempting to bake a spectacular cake for your picnic but remember that you need to transport the food there, and also the fact that it is likely to be warm. A squished, semi-melted cake will just be sad-making. Instead, go for food that you can pile on a big board in the middle of your picnic for everyone to grab what they like and assemble their own sandwiches, salads and platefuls. Charcuterie, cheeses, fruits, nuts, crackers, dips, vegetable sticks, and boiled eggs are all ideal.
5. Tidy up after yourselves
Keep waste to a minimum by using reusable utensils and linen napkins instead of paper ones. If you don’t have enough, use environmentally-friendly versions, like bamboo plates and cutlery. Take a large rubbish bag for any food waste, and a few smaller bags for recycling waste. Make sure you leave the area as you found it.
Follow these tips and you will be sure to have a beautiful, relaxing picnic. For more on making the most of summer, go here. To shop the look for our casual garden picnic, follow the links below: