As the world starts opening up again and we slowly integrate into a new post-pandemic lifestyle (which is yet to really be seen), there is one thing that I truly enjoyed during the spring and summer edition of quarantine life.
What’s not to love about a cozy, sunny picnic? It’s nostalgic, it’s inexpensive, and food always tastes better when you’re eating it al fresco.
There’s also a special level of bonding that occurs when you’re having a park hangout with friends, and a fun level of intimacy with a special someone that I personally would love to maintain even after the pandemic is over.
But picnics don’t always need to be had with friends or a partner. They can totally be enjoyed solo. It’s actually been my favourite way to spend my afternoons during the time I took off work.
Just me, a good book and my favourite summer foods spread on a soft blanket to graze on as I flip through pages or playlists with a blue lake keeping me cool.
Picnics are the quintessential way to slow down. To choose simplicity. To choose getting lost in a novel and dozing off in an afternoon nap.
If there’s one thing I observed the most about picnics this past year, it’s been our symbolic way of making the best of what we have.
Below are my essentials to create and delight in a seasonal Summer picnic.
To me, nothing tastes like summer quite like a refreshing caprese salad. The combination of fresh basil, soft bocconcini cheese and ripe cherry tomatoes drizzled with high quality olive oil and balsamic…literally transport me to al fresco memories of my summers in the mountains of Lebanon. Other great picnic salads to pack: pasta salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, or spinach strawberry and feta salad.
Baguettes are easy to carry around and they are truly the greatest delights in life. They are perfect to dip into spinach dips or hummus, and they pair perfectly well with cheese, charcuteries or jam.
Cheese & Charcuterie
Y’all know I’m a lover of a good cheese and charcuterie board. I published a blog post about my cheese and charcuterie recommendations, and for our backyard wedding reception, we had an elaborate grazing table. Although ready-made sandwiches are definitely good picnic staples, there is something leisurely about hand picking cheese and cured meat to put into a fresh baguette.
Or, any refreshing beverage of your choice! For a spread like this, I like to have a crisp white wine but canned fruity beverages, beer, and a lemon Perrier do the trick.
On the topic of refreshment, there is nothing more fitting than to bring fresh, juicy, seasonal fruit to a picnic. The strawberries and peaches this season have been so delicious. Another picnic staple can be watermelon, pineapple or even a fruit salad.
A picnic isn’t a picnic unless you’re really indulging in something special. One way to enjoy dessert would to be bring freshly baked butter croissants and strawberry jam. The combination of those two is a special ode to childhood summers .This is also the great way to support your local patisserie and jam confectioners.
A leisurely activity
Bringing a book, a magazine, a playlist, a game or even a musical instrument to a picnic means: I’m staying here for a while. This time around, picnics have felt more intentional towards slowing down. And hey, it may even be followed by a nap.
A nice view
If you’re lucky enough to settle your picnic blanket next to a sooting lake, under a shady tree, a lush garden or in the heart of a city park, then your picnic experience is complete. It may be a little bittersweet to pack away when it’s time to head back home, but I guarantee that the taste of the food while enjoying that view, will entice you to return.
Happy First day of Summer, friends. ☀️ 🍓