About Creating the Perfect At Home Picnic

summer picnic ideas

For me, my home is my oasis. In ordinary days I could like the idea of going out, but I would probably love the idea of staying in. Probably because I’m here all the time taking care of my daughter, I truly enjoy being in this place. It’s far from perfect, but every space and corner has something I love, that it’s so me. It’s extremely familiar in the comforting sense of the way. And that makes it safe and serene as well.

I think it was how much I enjoy being home that led me to my love of cooking. It is only the natural extension to make the experience even better. That’s why I love to recreate food experiences at home. If it’s fine dining it will be the French bistro kind, with the filet and potatoes, mushrooms, chocolate dessert and wine. If we are in the need of some comfort food then it would be burgers, with homemade fries, maybe two homemade sauces, everything put in cute baskets with some beer on the side. Don’t even make me start on tacos, where I like to make a spread on the floor (yes, on the floor) with all the fixings we crave and we will make our own tacos as we eat on the floor. No two tacos end up the same.

A food experience I enjoy very much are picnics. They are the perfect time to eat too many delicious things at the same time. And with you hands. The idea of picnics is to have them outside, of course.  But when you live in an island where, not only it’s very hot all the time, but also windy and humid as you can’t imagine, and outdoor food experiences by yourself (meaning no air conditioning or fans as in restaurants) is not exactly the most pleasant of all. That’s why I love to recreate picnics at home, for when we are feeling homey and want a super light food experience.

So I’m putting together my basics for when shopping for a picnic date in. It’s a nice guide to make sure you don't forget about the essentials to make this a fun and enchanting experience. And everything here could be at room temperature for some hours, so you can also use it to make a basket and hit your favorite park. No matter the location, I’m sure you will have a lovely time around these delicious foods!

How to make a fantastic at-home picnic

1.     French Baguette  |  It’s the quintessential bread for picnics. Doughy enough to melt in your mouth but crusty enough to hold anything you put on top.

2.     Water crackers  |  For when you want a smaller bite plus it’s ideal with jams and fruit pastes.

3.     Fruits  |  A lovely mix of different fruits will keep your palate happy with what’s going on. Strawberries for something sweet, blueberries or blackberries for something acidic, cherries for its tartness and you can even add something a bit tropical such as guavas, which are sweet and sour. I prefer to stay away from too watery fruits such as melons to prevent sogginess over other ingredients or too sugary fruits that could brown too fast after being cut, such as bananas or peaches.

4.     Greens  |  A mixed greens salad with some light dressing is always a nice touch to keep everything fresh and make this picnic feel more of a complete meal.

5.     Charcuterie  |  The name by itself screams French picnic. I like to have some low salt ham for something mild flavored. Other cuts we always have are dried salami and black forest ham. These ones are lighter for a summer picnic at home. If you want something heavier you may want to add prosciutto, mortadella or chorizo.

6.     Cheeses  |  I always include two cheeses; one soft with nutty and sweet flavors and another hard and salty with more umami notes. My cheeses of choice are a Brie and a Parmesan, but I have use many times Port Salut, which I completely love, and Asiago or Manchego for the hard cheese selection.

7.     Brines  |  Here go your favorites from a jar. Roasted bell peppers and Kalamata olives are my favorites but also can have pickled onions, cornichons, pickled radishes and anything you love and find interesting over a piece of bread.

8.     Booze  |  I know the expected alternative is a nice bottle of red wine. But with so many options these days, I will suggest to open our imaginations and think outside the traditional bottle.  A lovely alternative, especially when the days are hot and we want that forget-about-the world feeling, is something bubbly, like a chilled sparkling wine or even a fruit beer. I like these because they won’t make you feel heavy.

9.     Pretty flowers  |  Always flowers