I decided to plan a surprise picnic for my best friend! Picnics and surprises - both wonderful ideas that we often don’t follow through with. Summer is the season for sitting on grassy fields endlessly, when you smile because there’s sun and simple pleasures.
As with homemade food & marking an occasion, there is some work involved. Here are some helpful tips to make your picnic easy & enjoyable!
While finding a place off-the-beaten tracks sounds great, but weigh up the adventure with the creature comforts! Our picnic spot was close to our cars, which meant we could unload from our cars easily. It was close to the toilets which nearly everyone used at some point, and close to a landmark which made it easier for our the guests to find. If you’re at a big park, you can also use the ‘share location’ feature on google maps to help guests find you. For something extra, prop up an easel chalkboard marking the occasion so that even strangers notice you and greet you ‘happy birthday!’ or the like.
Considering the planning, shopping, food prep & cleaning up, it’s best to delegate food among a few guests. Mix homemade dishes with store-bought to lessen the load. Our menu for a group of 8:
Homemade - vietnamese caramelised pork, pickled vegetables, cauliflower rice, hummus & a healthy caramel slice
Store-bought - fresh fruit & veg, olives & nuts, dips & cheeses, crackers & chips, confectionary and cake. Serve these on wooden grazing boards, of course! (ours was repurposed from a cabinet door)
Make it special by offering a fresh & simple cocktail like a mimosa. While it’s just equal parts good orange juice and dry sparkling wine, you can imagine yourself at the hotel ritz in paris where the flower-inspired beverage was conceived.
Having an esky or other vessel of ice is a good idea, as is H2O.
Bringing proper serve-ware to plate up the food means a bit more effort, but really adds to the occasion. Lessen the load by mixing this up with disposable bamboo plates, napkins and cutlery. Hide away the plastic bags & containers used for carrying your goods.
Have a comfortable picnic rug and even blankets for those who get chilly easily! Pick up a bunch of flowers from the local markets and haphazardly throw them over and around your picnic rug. Fresh flowers are the new balloons.