Eight Tips For Having The Ultimate Picnic In The Park
It's all in the planning, says Sam Wylie-Harris...
There’s something special about a picnic. And now pandemic restrictions are beginning to ease and we can head outdoors a bit more with people we love, al fresco dining is back on.
As with any great escape, it’s what you’re carrying that counts and the checklist you make prior to heading out the door.
With sunshine and blue skies on the cards, we’ve got your picnic paraphernalia covered…
1. Start with the basics
How many times have you kicked yourself for forgetting something? A good picnic hamper, basket or rucksack will make all the difference. Neat and tidy, it’ll have a special place for all the essentials, with the added bonus of a bottle opener, salt & pepper and, if you’re lucky, a sharp knife.
2. Keep it simple
If you don’t want to go the whole hog with a hamper, think lightweight, eco-friendly paper plates, glassware and sustainable wooden cutlery that’s easy to carry. Your remote beauty spot might be just that, and a bit of a trek.
3. Comfort is key
While we love sitting on the grass, no-one wants a damp behind or achy lower back. Depending on the distance you’re walking beforehand, and the style of your spread, think about folding picnic chairs and an easy carry picnic rug with adjustable strap and polyester backing.
4. Prep things that are easy to eat
No one wants the hassle of eating with a knife and fork. Half the pleasure of picnicking is freeing yourself from the norm. Slice everything beforehand and cut off crusts for finger sandwiches. Thinly slice veggies for dips, peel hardboiled eggs and pack plenty of napkins.
5. Menu dos and don’ts
Moist main dishes and deli food works better than anything in a runny sauce. Don’t bother with leaky vinaigrettes – opt for a small tub of mayonnaise, and choose fresh, firm fruit. Mother Nature is a law unto herself, so don’t pack anything sticky and sweet that’s likely to attract insects.
6. Everything should be chilled to perfection
Even if it’s not a sweltering hot day, no one wants a warm glass of vino, soda or a gooey sandwich. Slender freezer blocks and ice packs work best, so you can layer them between sarnies, tinnies and bottles of water.
7. Don’t pack too much
Tempting as it is, try to travel light. Same as going on holiday, you don’t want anything in the hold you haven’t worn; and you certainly don’t want to carry home any leftovers. It’s a picnic, not a banquet.
8. Clear up after yourself
It’s vital to our parks and countryside that we protect wildlife from harmful materials. Use the bins provided, and make sure you leave this precious green space with everything you came with, so it looks just as beautiful the next time you plant yourself in the great outdoors.