When summer rolls round again, our social calendar is always packed full of exciting outdoor events. From Royal Ascot in June to the Henley Regatta and Wimbledon in July, to the Glyndebourne Festival all summer long, there’s always a fabulous day out to be had (weather permitting of course) and it’s a great excuse to indulge in another British tradition – the picnic. Banish thoughts of soggy sandwiches and plastic cutlery: the humble picnic has been given a makeover. Whether you’re enjoying a day at the races or a night at the opera, our ‘posh’ picnic essential checklist will ensure your picnic is the star of the show.
Start with the basics. Your picnic blanket is both your seating and your table, so choose one large enough to accommodate both people and plates. One of our lightweight woven dhurrie rugs would be perfect for a picnic blanket as they’re quite spacious and can be rolled up really easily. (Before you spread your picnic blanket out, remember to check the ground underneath is dry to avoid any embarrassing damp patches!) Sitting on the ground can become a little uncomfortable as the day goes on so don’t forget to pack a few cushions as well. A throw is also an invaluable addition when picnicking: it can act as a blanket for the floor but also be an extra layer later in the evening when it begins to get chilly.
If, however, you’re in formal evening wear at the outdoor opera, then it’s wise to take foldable chairs to sit on – and why not bring a foldable table too? Our Carisbrooke Folding Dining Set is perfectly sized to fit in the boot of your car and will certainly elevate your picnic (both figuratively and literally). For even further comfort, pop an extra cushion on your seat or against the back of the chair.
A picnic just isn’t a picnic without at least one piece of rattan. Our rattan serving collection boasts everything from cutlery carriers to condiment holders to give your picnic a smart yet traditional feel. Make sure you’ve a tray amongst your serving armoury: it’s essential for resting drinks on, especially if you’re perched on uneven ground. Take stock of your serving utensils before setting off on your picnic, remembering to include corkscrews, bottle openers, teaspoons for serving condiments and a substantial set of real cutlery. Of course, you'll need something to carry all your picnicware in, and these rattan baskets are ideal.
A bottle of bubbly is an essential centrepiece for any posh picnic but there’s nothing worse than a drink served lukewarm on a hot summer’s day. Don’t forget to include an ice bucket in your picnic basket - and lots of ice of course - so you can keep drinks chilled.
It’s a scientific fact that drinks taste much better when served in the correct glassware. Plastic cups just won’t do for occasions such as this, so make sure you’ve proper champagne flutes for a glass of champagne or prosecco, and some short tumblers for cordial or water. A picnic also gives you the excuse to enjoy a refreshing glass of Pimm’s - another British summertime tradition - so bring along a large jug that can easily hold enough for everyone.
We treat outdoor dining the same as indoor dining, which means definitely no paper plates. Melamine plates and bowls are perfect for picnics and other al fresco dining occassions. These ones have the appearance of delicate pottery but are actually made from unbreakable melamine (that's also dishwasher-safe). When choosing food for your posh picnic, think canapés or finger food - and plenty of them. Include seasonal British produce in your picnic, such as asparagus and strawberries, along with the old favourites like pork pies and scotch eggs (you’ll definitely get a few grumbles if they’re not on the menu) and try to keep everything bite sized if possible. Finally, make sure everyone has a side plate with a linen or cotton napkin on which to catch every last crumb.
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