Whilst picnicking is about the food, it is also a great opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors with friends and family. There are many benefits to be enjoyed at your summer picnics this year, aside from the gourmet food. From bonding with the family to spending time outside away from screens and distractions, picnics are enjoyed by all ages.
But let's get back to the food. Choosing what to pack in your picnic basket can be a big decision. You want food that is easy to prepare, and ideally ready to eat. It also has to last without refrigeration for several hours, so food that perishes or melts quickly is out.
It would be a shame to reach your destination only to discover that your picnic is ruined because one food item has spoiled everything else. This is why we have put together this list of summer picnic basket ideas that are guaranteed to be a success.
Before you head off on your summer picnic …
Choosing the correct equipment is vital. Leaky coolers dampen spirits. Check that your Tupperware is tightly closed before you leave, and wrap any aromatic items in plastic bags (you don't want everything smelling like blue cheese, for example). On a scorching summer's day, you'll want your picnic food to stay cool in an Esky or cooler.
If you're going to give little ones a cup or bottle, use plastic to prevent breakage. Consider deploying a lightweight tray for your wine glasses while pouring (and between sips), and you don't want to forget a bottle opener.
Always check the picnic blanket before you head off as well. You don't want to reach your destination and find that it is full of crumbs, dirt, sand or - worst of all - ants.
Basic items that are going to be a hit at any picnic
While gourmet is fun and delicious, it always pays to ensure you have plenty of old-fashioned family favourites in the picnic basket, especially for the children. People have different tastes, and not everyone will feel adventurous, plus sometimes people crave something simple after a day of walking and activity. Tried and tested summer picnic favourites include:
Sandwiches (ham and cheese, chicken and lettuce, avocado, and egg and lettuce are classic options)
Pasta and/or fruit salad
Chips and dips (try options like hummus compared to fatty and perishable cream cheese options)
Baked goods like muesli bars, brownies or scones
Mini pies and sausage rolls
Frozen poppers (fruit boxes) for the kids
The best picnic items for the beach
If you are heading to the shore for the day, you can enjoy a day of swimming and just relaxing by the water, even enjoying the sunset with a packed meal. But, of course, champagne or wine is a must for grown-ups because it can be enjoyed at room temperature as well as cold. Plus, there is nothing quite like enjoying a glass of bubbles on the beachside as the sun sets over the horizon.
You have to consider sand and its tendency to infiltrate everything, which effectively rules out sandwiches. Wraps are a good alternative, while kebabs are great as all the ingredients are on a stick and can easily be held without getting sand everywhere. Fruit is always a hit on a hot summer day by the water, while home backed sweet and savoury bars and treats always work well.
Enjoying a picnic in the countryside
Everyone can enjoy the fresh country air and a fantastic spread on a picnic basket, but this is the domain of couples seeking romance. So when you are heading to a place off the beaten track with gorgeous, sweeping scenery, fields of flowers and crystal blue skies, you want food that will match the experience.
These are the picnics where you want to indulge your senses, so break out the top quality champagne or wine and pair it with fruit and chocolates - or both, chocolate covered strawberries are always a hit. If alcohol is not your thing, pink lemonade is a classy alternative to match the fresh country air.
Meal items should be lighter and a bit fancier than the standard picnic. Think pesto wraps or stuffed rice paper rolls, lemon brownies and fresh spring rolls. On the other hand, you don't want to feel bogged down and sleepy, so a heavy meal is not the right play here.
What should I bring to a work picnic?
Work picnics are a fantastic opportunity for colleagues, managers and their families to bond together under the summer sun. In many instances, the food is provided. But we all know that even when we're told not to bring anything, we have to bring something. Basic picnic fair will not cut it here either, so forget the fairy cakes and sliced watermelon.
You will want to impress with the food you supply for the hungry horde, but you don't want to look like you have tried too hard either. Fortunately, it is easy to achieve gourmet and effortless in the same dish. Instead of standard dips, think of homemade avocado spread or a handmade salsa. Salads are a great way to bring some colour and pizazz to the table.
Putting a twist on a classic is always an excellent way to go as well, like ham and asparagus sandwiches, tasty stuffed tarts, gourmet biscuits and anything with feta cheese.
If worst comes to worst, you don't have to go to enormous efforts to enjoy any picnic. Turning to the experts and having your picnic catered means everything will be prepared, gourmet and delicious.
Would you like to simplify your event planning process? Purely Gourmet is a local company that delivers gourmet gifts and groceries across Australia. Our team uses only the best products, provided by local businesses.