There is something so pleasurable about eating outdoors when the weather is not too hot or too cold. To quote a certain porridge thief, it’s just right. Here are some tips to ensure your picnic is just right, too.
We’re all in favour of a last-minute picnic (see below), but if you want to make an occasion of it, a little planning will go a long way. Think about the kind of food you can all share. If it’s only your immediate family, maybe some hot dogs or freshly made rolls and fruit will do the job for minimum fuss and maximum fun. If you’re meeting a bunch of friends, take things up a notch and plan a rough menu. And don’t be a martyr – divvy up the preparation so that everyone contributes equally and you’re not rushing around like a mad thing beforehand.
Pick your spot
Again, there’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous but putting a bit of thought into where you’re going can help you determine what to take. Do you want an outdoor area with barbecues where you can cook a few snags from the British Sausage Company? Will there be picnic tables where you can easily put out share plates, or will a rug on the ground do the job? Just make sure wherever you go, there is plenty of shade. Even in spring, the sun can have real bite.
Embrace finger food
Spare the cutlery and make food that can be easily eaten with your hands. Savoury muffins or pre-sliced frittata (you can use spinach if you prefer in this kale and goat’s cheese variation) never go astray. Homemade sausage rolls will also keep everyone happy, while these crab and corn croquettes are delicious on their own or dipped in sweet chilli sauce.
You can’t go wrong with seasonal produce. Slice carrots, celery, cucumber and capsicum into lengths or chunks to dunk into dips (this tzatziki sauce is a winner). Chop watermelon, quarter oranges, or slice some of the lovely stonefruit that is starting to appear on our shelves and refresh the palate before you head home.
Add a sweetener
Surprise the sweet tooths in your gathering with some homemade scones – lemonade or pumpkin. Sure, this means bringing a bit of cutlery to spread the butter or jam or cream but who’s complaining? Homemade scones deserve the best accompaniments, too, so pick up some Devoted Artisan Butter or fresh cream from Bannister Downs or Brownes Dairy.
Keep your cool
Store salads, fruit, cheeses and dips with frozen ice packs in an insulated bag along with drinks. No one wants super-runny cheese or soggy salad. Similarly, if you want to serve sausage rolls or scones warm, heat them just before you leave and wrap in alfoil. Of course, they won’t be the same as when they have come out of a piping oven, but they will still be delicious.
Don’t forget the drinks
Staying well-hydrated is always important, but particularly as the weather warms up. Pack the esky with a few litres of Jila Water or Refresh Pure Water, and include some bottles of your favourite juice or lemonade. Cold pressed from local fruit, Michael Brothers‘ offerings include cloudy apple, tropical and lemon ginger soda.
Make it easy
Want to get out and enjoy the beautiful day but nothing in the fridge to take with you? Duck down to your nearest deli, Farmer Jack’s or IGA supermarket and you’ll find an array of delicious West Australian produce pre-prepared, from cheese platters to gourmet salads, that make a picnic on the fly easy peasy. Or head to Core Cider, where you can choose from a selection of grab & go boxes, including cheese and charcuterie, and enjoy an impromptu picnic in their gorgeous grounds.
However you choose to picnic, make it full of flavour!