Picnic Perfect

Elevate Your Outdoor Gathering…

Summers were made for impromptu picnic lunches and dinners alfresco. But who says what’s in your basket or on your outdoor dining table has to be basic, been-there-done-that fare? This summer, bring something bold to the plate! Check out these fresh menu options and a few tips for elevating your outdoor dining experience.

Skip the classic garden variety: Let your tastebuds take flight with a peach burrata salad. The decadent combination of the season’s best peaches, cherries, tomatoes and basil, the creamy balance of burrata cheese, the crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of tangy honey vinaigrette is sure to welcome summer with a bang. 

Eat like the Greek gods: Who needs a basic fruit salad when there’s ambrosia? This divine pairing of fruit, coconut flakes, marshmallows and frozen whipped topping will be the hit of any alfresco dining experience. They don’t call it the food of the gods for nothing! 

Delight in something devilishly delicious: We love a good, deviled egg! The way that savory, velvety yolk rests perfectly in a hardboiled egg white is pretty heavenly, if you ask us. It’s the perfect protein to keep you going through all the day’s activities.

Try a chip of a different kind: There really is no true substitute for guacamole + chips, but if you’re looking to keep the carb count low during the high summer temperatures, use carrot sticks in place of the classic tortilla chips. You won’t have to sacrifice the crunch factor – and you’ll love the way the lime juice, tomatoes and avocado balance the sweetness of the carrots. 

Tell that sandwich to lighten up: Bypass the meat and let some sliced heirloom tomatoes take center stage this time around. Pair it with a smear of cream cheese or aioli on the bread of your choice. We like ciabatta or focaccia to bring the flavor full circle.

A little bread never hurts: A loaf of bread is a must-have when it comes to a picnic, but what couldn’t be improved upon with some sweet, diced tomatoes, fragrant basil, fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar? Bruschetta (pronounced broo- skeh- tuh) brings comfort food to a new level. 

When it comes to dining alfresco, don’t scrimp on the details.

Later for that plastic tablecloth: Bring that outdoor dining experience to new heights with a simple tablecloth in washable fabric. It’s best to go with a color that won’t highlight food or grass stains.

Toss those paper napkins: The quickest way to bring a touch of fancy to outdoor dining is to add linen napkins to the mix. Pick them up for next to nothing at a dollar store, a clearance aisle or second-hand store near you.

Spring for real utensils and glassware: We’re not saying to whip out your grandmother’s heirloom China or cutlery set, but real glassware and utensils are one way to sweeten the deal. Second-hand shops are a great place to find quality dishes and utensils without breaking the bank. Wrap them in between the linen napkins and tablecloths to protect them in transit.

Add a little wine to your dine: Stash a bottle of your favorite wine, champagne, sparking juice or sparkling water and some stemless wine glasses in your basket. Glasses without the stem will be much easier to keep upright even if the perfect picnic spot comes with uneven ground, and they’ll be much less prone to breakage enroute.

Hit a sweet note: A portable Bluetooth speaker and a curated playlist will take that meal from basic to beautiful. Use the occasion and the company as inspiration when choosing which songs to add to the lineup.

Are you not entertained?!: Sure, an outdoor dining experience is bound to have its own natural charm, but bring a book, a deck of cards or a sketchbook along for an added layer of fun.

Wrap it all up in something vintage: It’s next to impossible to replicate the allure of a vintage picnic basket, so why bother? Find one secondhand – or a close facsimile online. Want something more modern or functional? A picnic backpack works, too, especially if your alfresco dining experience involves a bit of hiking.

About Kimberly N. Bonéy

Proud wife and mom, is a freelance writer, designer, up-cycler and owner of Herstory Vintage. When she’s not working, she is joyfully wielding jewelry-making tools and paintbrushes in her studio. Antique shops, vintage boutiques, craft stores and bead shops are her happy place.

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