• Donnington Grove

The perfect picnic

A sunny summers day is the perfect excuse to pack up a picnic basket and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you head down to a local park, set up a blanket on the beach, or embark on a long hike.

The presentation at a picnic counts.  This isn’t a shallow obsession with looks over substance. Nobody wants a sterile picnic and grass in the lemonade as part of the fun. But a little extra effort, like laying out the food on a clean tablecloth and keeping the food pretty and fresh, goes a long way.

Clingfilm and plastic boxes look seedy and should be kept to a minimum. Use greaseproof paper and string to wrap sandwiches and cakes (this will stop them getting sweaty).

There’s no need to go into overdrive. Glyndebourne-style picnics with candelabra, separate courses and elaborate dishes are a bit Hyacinth Bucket.

Struggling with a plate, fork and glass while sitting on an uneven patch of grass is stressful, so go for finger-food rather than bowls of salad. Sandwiches are an obvious choice, but the best sandwiches are eaten within minutes of being made and fillings that travel well are few and far between.

Tomatoes go soggy in minutes and dressed lettuce goes slimy.

Stick to the classics, such as ham and English mustard or chicken in curried mayonnaise. Don’t forget the family favourites.

The best picnics are lengthy, sociable affairs, so have food to graze on through the afternoon. Chicken skewers can be munched with ease. A cucumber cut into chunks, cherry tomatoes and breadsticks are good to nibble on.
Keep the pudding simple. A good cake, a watermelon cut into chunks, strawberries and a bowl of cherries on ice (transported in a Thermos flask) are a feast.