As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, we find ourselves lured outside, our bodies keen to soak in that intoxicating mix of sunlight and fresh air. Meals, too, draw us outside, whether it's afternoon drinks and canapés on the porch, a barbecue in the backyard or a picnic in your local shady park or favourite secluded beach.
Putting together a picnic is a simple art; gather the kind of easy-to-eat, easy-to-transport and easy-to-share foods that are delicious at room temperature and safe to keep out in the sun for a little while. Lay them out on a blanket or picnic table. Pour yourself something fizzy. Commence grazing. While it's hard to go wrong, these are some of our al fresco favourites, perfect for the arrival of picnic season.
- Pair those delicious salty, fatty small goods with something acidic, like serving paper-thin slices of jamon with crisp, sour cornichons
- Dress smoked fish like salmon or trout with vinegar-packed capers
- Include something substantial (but still easy to eat) in your spread, like a Moroccan rice salad filled with green olives, preserved lemons, sumac and other vibrant ingredients
- Roast chicken wings in a glaze of honey and rose harissa. They're just as delicious cold as they are straight out of the oven (just remember to pack the serviettes!)
- Pack a jar of duck rillettes and a packet of flat bread and imagine you're enjoying your picnic in the French countryside
- Pair your favourite cheddar with mustard fruits or pickled walnuts to add a delicious kick
- A little splash of elderberry concentrate turns every glass of sparkling wine into a cocktail
- Tinned seafood, like our La Gondola range of Portuguese products, are easy to transport and far easier (and neater) to eat than that bowl of unshelled prawns
- Dress roasted vegetables with blood orange agrumato for an aromatic citrus kick
- Slip a large, thin chopping board into your backpack. Not only does it make slicing cheese or bread easier, it's a stable surface to sit those wine glasses on
- The difference between a good ham and cheese sandwich and a great one? The quality of your mustard!
Make your own potato and black garlic focaccia on the morning of your picnic and you'll have moist, still-warm bread to slather with dips or cover with cheese
Whether you're hiking up a mountain for a meal with a view, or simply dragging a rug into the courtyard, a picnic is not only a wonderful opportunity to spend more time outdoors, it affords a wealth of culinary opportunities. Visit your nearest The Essential Ingredient store for all your picnic essentials, or shop online for delivery to anywhere in Australia.