How to:... picnic in style
6th May 16, 5:15 pm
At last – sunshine. Celebrate and reacquaint with the outdoors in style, with one more or more of our elegant and creative picnic ideas, courtesy of CiD’s very own PA-chef Ella Prichard.
- Crockery and glassware – go vintage and go real
Paper plates are plain impractical, and who wants to eat from a plastic fork?! No drink could ever be truly quenching from a throw away cup.
The real stuff may add weight to your basket, but it will present and make the food/drink taste so much better.
We love these from Wares of Knutsford:
Tin plates and Tin Mugs – lightweight and long lasting
Glass bottles – perfect for homemade drinks (recipes below!)
Kilner jars – trendy and chic
And try these links for more fun yet chic picnicware ideas:
Not On the High Street | John Lewis | Fortnum and Mason
- Napkins – must be BIG and PROPER
Paper napkins will fly away and spread litter. Super-sized fabric napkins not only look great, but can act as a mini tablecloth or bib. Zazzle offer a range of patterns and designs – you can even personalise them.
If you have time and feel creative, you could make your own and REALLY impress your guests.
- Dips & Drinks – if you are short of time buy these and transfer into kilner jars or glass bottles for a homemade look (attach a label on the front so everyone knows what’s inside).
If you have the luxury of some prep time, here are some quick and easy recipes for scrumptious additions to your picnic menu:
Dips: Beetroot dip , Hummus, Creamy Pesto
Drinks: Homemade lemonade, rum punch, Elderflower
- DIY sandwiches
It is easy to make or buy a batch of delicious sandwich fillers, such as egg mayo, coronation chicken or tuna mayonnaise. Display in ceramic pots or kilner jars, then buy a large batch of rolls (they need a good crust to avoid squashing) and guests can fill their own sandwiches with their favourite filling.
For extra choice, slice a few cucumbers, pieces of cheese, plus some green salad in a bowl. Hams and salami can also be on offer to plus-up the sandwiches even more. Forget butter – it will just melt and make a mess. Your guests will be more than happy with your creamy fillings.
- Involve everyone with a BBQ
Disposable BBQs are cheap, easy to find in supermarkets and everyone will want a go. Buy a few if you have a large group. Make sure you have tongs, matches and tea towels in case things get hot. Importantly, check that the venue or park allows BBQs as some don’t.
Throw on small sausages, burgers and mini chicken pieces and you’re done. Small pieces will cook quickly and avoid the possibility of undercooked meat being eaten.
For extra wow factor, try marinating meat morsels in advance for extra flavour, but ensure you have a proper cool box to store uncooked meat safely.
- Avoid bees and wasps
Bright coloured table cloths, sugary drinks and food will all attract the flying insects that can hinder the enjoyment of your party. Read this article for some tips on how to avoid unwanted visitors.
- Pretty it up with lights and flowers
Buy a selection of your favourite flowers, and display in vintage jugs like these. For lighting, we love these ideas on Pinterest but if there is no electricity nearby, tea lights hanging in trees look lovely. If it is a public venue you may need to check the rules on lanterns.
- Tables and chairs
The idea of lying on grass or a picnic rug and making daisy chains is dreamy but older guests might appreciate a proper chair, and having a table available will also help you to display and serve your food.
If you have a vehicle and space, here are a few options to look at: Vintage fold up chairs and Folding Table – have two or three to dot around – some for drinks and some for food.
- Plan for everything
Be prepared with lots of baskets, bags and cool packs to keep your food/drink fresh, safe and cool. Have a number of good sized rugs (with plastic undersides) so people can spread out. Find a spot close to some shade for those who prefer it. A supply of suncream, wet wipes, cocktail sticks, kitchen towel, umbrellas, frozen wine cooler, flask of tea and a cricket bat and ball will mean you are ready for anything and remember to take plenty of bin bags, and boxes for rubbish, dirty dishes and laundry at the end.
- Pretend you made it yourself
Good quality delis have lovely selections of homemade/handmade food which is a lifesaver if you are short of time. Some favourites are Whole Foods, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Carluccios and Waitrose, though there are many independent and boutique delis springing up on high streets everywhere.
- Relax and hire a chef
Remove the stress and preparation time and instead hire a cook to deliver your favourite picnic food to your house (or picnic venue) ready to serve. Your chef can even organise crockery and cutlery, tables, chairs, decoration and serving staff so you don’t need to lift a finger.
To really pimp-up-your-picnic, how about a mobile cocktail bar and bartender? Or a Vintage gramophone DJ for outdoor jazz classics?
Contact your CiD PA to make all the arrangements, and all you need do is focus on your guests and having a wonderful time in the open air.
Another in our ‘How to.. make a difference’ series.