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In praise of the humble picnic

Don’t say it too loudly but... *whispers* we’ve been having some rather nice weather here in the UK lately. You might have noticed by the way that everyone in the office suddenly goes from eating their lunch ‘al desko’ to al fresco in the hope of topping up that tan as much as is possible during the lunch hour. OK, it might not quite be a tropical paradise but our enthusiasm for making the most of it when the sun is shining really can’t be faulted. One of our favourite things about this time of year is getting to indulge in the great british tradition of planning, packing and enjoying a picnic! With that in mind we thought we’d put together a blog celebrating the humble picnic and offering up a few ideas for your next venture outdoors

Pick-a-place

The whole concept of a picnic dates back to the 17th century where we have the first evidence of the word itself in print, used in reference to a meal where everyone attending contributed something. The origins of the word itself are thought to come from the French ‘pique-un-niche’ (pick a place) – referring to the practice of seeking out an isolated spot in which to enjoy a bite to eat away from the distractions of everyday life. We can see why it caught on!

Be prepared

Although often spontaneously arranged due to the fleeting nature of our weather, planning is key to a good picnic. It all depends on the size of your picnic of course and how ambitious you are! Choose your equipment carefully – nobody wants to open their hamper to find that a flask of coffee’s leaked all over the place. The extra cautious amongst us will make sure every piece of tupperware is firmly closed and that there’s plenty of plastic bags to wrap ‘high-risk’ items in. Cool boxes and ice packs are essential – not just for keeping the stuff that’s meant to be cold, cold but making sure that all food stays at a safe temperature (freezing some water bottles the night before is a simple solution if you don’t have ice packs!). Oh and not to forget the all important picnic blanket. Our top tip is to lay a shower curtain underneath your blanket to stop any dew from the grass soaking through and cutting things short.

The important part

...the food, of course. The recipes section of our website has a huge range of ideas for things that you might like to make for your next picnic. This leek and cheddar quiche would make a great addition to any hamper, not too heavy but full of flavour. Or, these tiger rolls are great to enjoy fresh and mean that everyone can suit themselves with the filling of their choice. Nick Nairn’s fruit salad with quark and poppy seed dressing is a fantastically healthy option for dessert (and what picnic doesn’t include a fruit salad?). And to drink? Well, Jean’s summer fruits smoothie featuring your favourite flavour of Graham’s yoghurt might take your fancy.

Has that got you raring to get outdoors the next chance you get? These are just a few of our thoughts on how to enjoy your picnic as best as possible, but what about yours? Share your tips and picnic hacks over on our social channels – we’d love to hear them!