Did you know we’re heading into National Picnic Week (16 – 25th June) and the weekend’s forecast is good, so parks across the land will soon be populated by quilted blankets and overflowing wicker baskets.
As anyone who’s ever experienced the delight of a sandy sarnie, or a soggy snack will testify, there is an art to the perfect picnic though.
For those wishing to avoid the horrors of eating al-fresco gone bad, Gary Durrant, Head Chef at The Arch London’s in-house restaurant Hunter 486, has lent his top tips to ensure your feast goes down a treat.
Mix it up
Ensure a combination of sweet and savoury options are included in your picnic spread. Avoid sticky puddings and instead opt for easy to eat cakes or desserts. I send our guests off with slices of Battenberg and miniature Raspberry & Pistachio trifles complete with the appropriate cutlery.
Quality not quantity
There’s a tendency to overpack when it comes to picnics, but the trick is to focus on quality, not quantity. I know that crisps are a picnic staple but why not ditch the unhealthy shop-bought bags and instead bake some potato slices yourself?
Not only are the baked variety healthier, your fellow picnickers will value the effort you’ve put in.
Just because picnic hampers are typically packed with finger food, this doesn’t mean your spread needs to be simple. This Dill Pickle Potato Salad Recipe from Country Living is a great example.
Add some sparkle
It’s easy to solely focus on food, but the choice of beverage is just as key for a successful picnic. English sparkling wine is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day and complements a wide variety of snacks. I ALWAYS recommend Camel Valley, Brut, 2012, a lovely English sparkling wine, hailing from Cornwall.
There’s nothing worse than discovering a smashed salad dressing bottle inside your hamper on arrival at your sunny spot.
Ensure all components are individually wrapped and securely fastened. There’s no harm in double-bagging! It helps if your hamper is easy to carry, as this way the contents will not be disturbed.
Taking a small pot of jam with you and leaving it a suitable distance away will encourage the flying stingy ones to leave you alone and don’t sit under trees or by flowers.
And above all, this is the UK. Don’t forget the brolly!
If you feel especially like treating yourself and are city based, The Arch London at Marble Arch will create a takeout picnic for two from £95