Picnics and summer months go hand-in-hand, whether you are looking to have a delicious spread at the local park on a patch of grass with friends and family, looking to take a small hike break on the hilltops, or you’ve just simply ran out of day out ideas, a picnic is always a good choice.
With planning your ideal picnic, it doesn’t really matter when it comes to it, there’s no need to overthink. Scrumptious or simple, nothing beats an outdoor feast! Especially in the summer months… birds chirping, your children playing (not indoors watching a screen), just making most of the outdoor environment accompanied with food.
Picking the right spot
The Queen’s platinum jubilee is coming up, which is the perfect time to grab your picnic baskets filled with your favourite food and drinks. Gather around a feast under the sun to celebrate this special occasion. Make it British-themed with home baked cupcakes, baked scones topped with strawberry jam, and clotted cream.
The ideal picnic is more than just packing the most delicious food you have, put together, inviting a good group of people, and having something to sit on. Make the picnic more enjoyable by choosing a great location.
Let’s not overthink the location. You want to choose a spot with access to drinking water or a tap and public toilets, also avoid really busy places. When it’s summer and if you live in a beach town, places will be busy and you may not get a spot.
Think about the surface. The idea of a picnic is to eat on the ground. Ensure the surface you are looking to feast on is flat to hold your food and drinks standing, to avoid any spillages which will ruin your well-planned picnic.
Look for some shade, especially in the summer when the day peaks as the heat will be unbearable, which will affect your skin (always pack your suncream!), and your picnic.
Choosing the right food
You want to start by inviting the friends and family you want to bring with you because you will then know what to include in your picnic. Of course, they will bring their own food too so you don’t have to worry about providing for everyone.
You want to add portable snacks, and there is no hassle and no mess when it comes to pies, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, and chicken drumsticks. The classic picnic treats are all travel easy foods.
Remember to keep your picnic feeding the crowd of adults and kids, this is the easiest part with a few family favourites up your sleeve. Whatever your recipes are, keep them original and in portions that will not leave any waste.
The beautiful part of planning a picnic is that you are constantly looking for new recipes to try. It helps you, your friends, and your family to try something new whilst developing other skills in other types of food when cooking. But remember to stick with what you know and keep it simple, know what your audience likes and go for it.
Lost for ideas? We recommend:
Pasta - tuna & sweetcorn or chicken & bacon with mayonnaise.
Wraps/burritos/baguettes with your favourite fillings.
Barbeque Skewers (Chicken, beef, pork)
Salads (especially potato salads)
Fried Chicken and a delicious dip (we think cheesy dips are the best!)
Maybe you want to add some rich, mature cheese. What would a picnic be without some sort of cheese and its accompaniments? The cheese is the most important addition, even more, vital to any of the classic snacks we have mentioned before.
You might need a break in between feasting, and that’s where pork scratchings and olives come in. Skip the cooking and pick up a container or jar and fill it with delicious, juicy olives and crunchy, flavored pork scratchings.
Did you know that pork scratchings are extremely healthy for your body? Discover why pork scratchings are the healthier option in our recent blog. (Add link)
So you have now planned the ideal snacks in between feasting, but do you have children to pack for too? We suggest that you stay away from the boring and conventional sandwiches. It’s a day out, make it fun! Children have sandwiches for their school lunch all the time, let’s change it up.
Mini Crustless Quiches
Biscoff Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies
Delicious creamy fudge
Crunchy vegetable sticks with a dip
Remember to keep your recipes bright and attractive to keep the kids interested.
The desserts: If you are planning to add some sweet desserts, you might want to re-consider depending on the activities you have planned. However, you can still enjoy them after. Make your wonderful treats easy and simple. Cupcakes, cookies, and flapjacks are the go-to.
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Adding the picnic centerpiece
Create a picnic centerpiece by adding a wonderful cheese board with delicious crackers, chutney, fruit, and creamy cheddar cheeses. Everyone will be quick to delve into this towering board of cheese and condiments.
Are you struggling with what to add to your picnic? Luckily, we can help you out. Here at The Chuckling Cheese Company, we have a wide selection of high-quality gift hampers and gift boxes that have been expertly handpicked and curated all in one box. With all the essentials for the perfect picnic centerpiece made in one place, we make your picnic planning stress free. No need to stress or shop around, everything you need is in our very own handpicked cheese hampers!
Make it fun for everyone
To make this picnic more enjoyable for everyone, allow your children to bring a friend or two. Set some activities for everyone to participate in. Ball games are great, as are jumping rope and the classic tig. Are there any other picnickers? Get them to join in too!
Remember to consider that those who are joining in might have eaten a fair bit, so try not to keep the activities at a high intensity. For example, choose games such as catch, frisbee, or even have a kickabout. Do you have a furry friend(s)? They are also a great guest to bring, just like the picnic centerpiece, the dog will be the center of attention. Friendly with anyone they come across and just a delight to bring along! Plus they will surely have great exercise and save you from taking them out for a walk later on. They are definitely sleeping sound tonight, well… your whole family will.
What about the drinks?
The sun is shining and everyone is having a good time, so it’s time to grab a drink to stay refreshed. But what you choose to wash everything down with after feasting, really depends on who will be with you. But it’s a picnic, you are allowed to have what you like. Now COVID-19 restrictions have been eased, eating and drinking are the perfect way to socialise this summer.
As well as packing some lovely food, it makes sense to pack a bottle of wine or two. For the children, pack some cartons of juice, no fizzy drinks (if they have activities planned, and most importantly for their health - We don’t want too much sugar in their bodies!) Don’t forget to pack a few bottles of water too, along with some sun lotion, the heat might be slightly too much.
Don’t neglect food safety!
As we mentioned earlier, choosing the right spot with a water tap is essential, because you would need to keep things clean on a picnic. We don’t want no upset stomachs on the hard planned day out do we?
We highly recommend you wash your hands before preparing and setting out your picnic spread where possible, and before eating it too. If there is not a water tap near you, use a wet wipe or hand sanitizer to sterilise your hands.
Any foods you would keep refrigerated at home would need to be kept cool during your picnic. These foods include:
Any food with a use-by-date
Place these foods in a cool box or in a cool bag with ice. Don’t distribute these just at the bottom of the cool box. You can use frozen drinks to help refrigerate your food and this also keeps the drink ice cold, ready for you to drink like a Slurpee.
Ensure you store cold food below 5°C to prevent bacteria from growing. We recommend you try and minimise the number of times you open your cool box. This helps keep the contents cold for a longer duration.
Once you have finished eating, make sure you pack away your picnic straight afterwards. If not, the risk of bacteria increases and food becomes unsafe to eat. It’s best to be thrown away when you get home.
What else should you consider?
So you have chosen the location and decided which food and drinks to bring, now what’s left are the extras that will make this a much more enjoyable day out.
Keep it simple and nostalgic, bring the classic appetisers that everyone knows and loves.
For a small group consider reusable dinnerware, which will result in a more earth-friendly approach. However, for a larger group, disposable is the way forward, after an enjoyable day out with friends and family the last thing you want to do is clean everyone's messy dinnerware.
Make a list a few days before, it’s the best way to guarantee that you won’t forget everything. Imagine packing everything and forgetting the dinnerware or the beautiful picnic centerpiece.
Plan activities that suit everyone, we don’t want to leave anyone out.
Bring a trash bag to make transporting rubbish easier and prevents you from having to go back and forth from the rubbish bin.