Yes, it's possible.
Summer tends to feel much more settled in by July. The holiday brings us together for barbecues and gatherings, and as the month continues, outdoor get-togethers feel as natural as the sun itself. After all, what could be better than good food, drinks, and conversation shared amongst friends? Whether you're headed to the park, beach, or just out back to your yard, a simple picnic can be a nice reprieve from the busyness of a restaurant—and these days picnics are more than sandwiches toted in a basket. In fact, there are many ways to get creative and turn a simple picnic lunch into an enjoyable weekend event. Here, we've gathered all the essentials you'll need for an unforgettable experience. So grab some friends and find a destination—with these picnic ideas, all that's left to do is pick a date.
A Picnic of Bubbles
As bubbles tend to do, a sparkling wine will inherently add a dose of celebratory fun to your gathering, but they are also a great option for snacks and packed meals. Rosés have many flavor profiles, and a soft sparkling option like Dom Maria offers a refreshing spritz of berries and peaches that is ideal for a summer gathering. For light snacking, serve this fresh rosé with equally fresh seafood and snacks, such as a creamy smoked salmon dip with crisp veggies, pasta salad, and grilled shrimp, all of which can be prepared and packed ahead of time and served up cold. If you are picnicking à la blanket style, bamboo plates and cutlery are best and will add a touch of class to your setting. As the sun begins to set, scatter some battery-operated twinkle lights on the blanket to illuminate things and keep the night going.
For this picnic, an artfully decorated table and full spread of food options are ideal. To set the mood, place a couple of mini portable folding picnic tables together in order to create a base. Next, lay some blankets and pillows around for seating. The menu should be made of simple but tasty dishes that travel well. Think a variety of egg frittatas, like roasted red peppers with spinach and mixed mushroom with tarragon and pancetta. Arrange the frittatas on platters and serve with garden-fresh sides, like an heirloom tomato salad, and warm pastries, croissants, and breads. A picnic menu this sophisticated deserves a handcrafted cocktail. A unique pairing such as entertaining expert Athena Calderone's Chamomile Honey Whiskey Sour will balance the meal but will be a standout for your gathering.
Since barbecue is the heart of this picnic, you'll want to ensure that it's good and authentic. Many restaurants are still offering fully prepared meals perfect for a picnic event. For a small group, look for an entrée like brisket or pulled pork to start with, and then build the rest of the meal around it. Serve it with side dishes that are low-maintenance but big on flavor, such as charred corn with basil lime butter, classic potato salad, and smoky deviled eggs topped with crisped bacon. For drinks, specialty canned beverages can easily elevate the meal. These botanically infused sparkling waters are a delicious alternative to cocktails and come in an array of flavors. Supportive plates and adequate napkins are also a must when it comes to barbecue, but you don't have to sacrifice your aesthetic. Instead of Styrofoam, go with a modern melamine plate in an earthy tone. And last but not least, top your spread off with a rustic wooden caddy to hold cutlery, condiments, and most important, paper towels.
Charcuterie can be an easy choice when planning a picnic, since most of the items will likely come pre-packaged, making them easy to transport. But for this picnic, the delectable spread of meats becomes the star and the starter for exquisite sandwiches. The mood of this picnic should be chic but light and easy. A picnic-ready entertaining kit complete with everything you need to set the ambiance takes the work out of setup and makes a fun take-home gift for everyone. Lay out the runner and arrange several nice trays and platters to become the base for your boards. Fill a few of the trays with cured meats like jamón Ibérico ham, Calabrese salami, and prosciutto. Then use the other platters for building cheese boards and fruit platters which will fare well for the sandwiches and snacking later into the evening. Last but not least, have everyone bring their favorite bottle of wine for an unforgettable evening.