7 ingredients for the perfect spring picnic

Published on 29 September 2017

There’s no better time than spring to enjoy the great outdoors with a picnic rug and your closest family and friends. We’ve prepared a list of everything you’ll need to plan the perfect picnic – now all you have to do is choose a sunny spring day.

1. A nifty picnic basket

It’s not a proper picnic without a picnic basket. These humble hampers have come a long way over the years, from the splintered old wicker baskets of the past to the high-tech carry-alls available today. The fancier baskets come with their own plates, cutlery, wine glasses and napkins.

If you’re looking for the Rolls Royce of picnic baskets, well, Rolls Royce make one themselves. It’ll set you back US$46,000 (about AU$58,000) and the glassware is made of crystal.

2. A cheese board
Picnics aren’t about going overboard with food – the picnic has to be portable, after all – but a cleverly constructed cheese board will help you get the most bang for your buck. To borrow a phrase, aim for “Something old, something new, something goat and something blue.”

That means picking a harder cheese for the “old” – you can barely go wrong with a cheddar – and something soft and mild to balance it out, like a burrata. Round out the platter with a tarty goat’s cheese and as bold a blue as you can handle. And don’t forget the crackers, charcuterie and refreshing grapes. 

3. Something to drink
On a warm afternoon in the springtime sun, you’ll need something on hand to quench your thirst. And while there’s no harm in dragging the Esky along with a case of craft beers, Zenon Misko from the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has this advice:

“Drink pink in spring. Look for dry, savoury, pale-pink-coloured rosé to pair beautifully with charcuterie, smoked salmon, salads or picnic classics such as prawn and avocado sandwiches. Or simply enjoy as an aperitif to wet the palate and toast the sunshine.”

Ask at BWS for your drop of choice. Freshly squeezed fruit juice will surely go down a treat with the younger ones – and take plenty of water, too!

4. Sandwiches
Many a picnic has been built around the tried and trusted combination of roast chicken, mayo and lettuce on a roll. But a handful of triangle-cut sandwiches will allow you to express yourself with a wider variety of ingredients, whether it’s egg salad, ham, turkey, tuna or roast pork and pickles. Don’t cut corners on the bread, either – no pun intended.

5. A dessert spread
Dessert is often the highlight of a picnic feast, yet it can be hard to balance out the need for some refreshing sweet treats with the challenge of keeping your ice-cream from melting. One solution is a fruit salad, packed with seasonal flavours like blood orange, pineapple, mango and berries. Carry the fruit in a drinks jug to keep it picnic-friendly, and add some lemon juice and a splash of gin or vodka if you’re so inclined.

If you prefer your dessert on the sweeter side, a DIY pavlova is always a crowd-pleaser. Grab some mini meringues, bring along some cream, a variety of berries and kiwifruit, and you can assemble the pavs as you go.

6. Family-friendly games
small wooden logs. The first player to 50 points wins – except your score has to land on exactly 50, or you revert back to 25. Ouch!
There’s nothing wrong with spending the whole afternoon sprawled out on the picnic rug, but if it’s entertainment you’re after, a few lawn games will get you up and about. Bocce and soccer are popular choices, while the classic party game Jenga makes for plenty of tower-tumbling action. Visit Big W and Target for maximum fun.

7. A perfect picnic crew
Let’s face it: a great picnic ultimately comes down to the friends and family you’ve got to share it with you. Nobody wants to be munching through a cheese platter alone – and as long as you’ve got a nice open location full of green grass and trees, then it’s the more the merrier. Oh, and one more thing: make sure you take sunscreen. It’s starting to get warm out there.