Blankets and baskets ahoy! It’s time to dine al fresco on the grass…
You know us well enough by now to know that we don’t need much of excuse to take ourselves out of the office for a little smackerel of something. However this week, we’re not pulling up a pew at a new bar or sampling the seasonal menu of the latest restaurant, we’ve gone into the wild (by wild, I mean ‘to the park’) to feel the grass beneath our toes and see if we can put on the best picnic ever for National Picnic Week. Yep, in case you’d missed it, this week is all about getting outside, dusting the moths off those blankets you’ve had rolled up in the cupboard and dining al fresco on your bum!
So what makes the perfect picnic? We packed our wicker baskets with traditional scones, real clotted cream and strawberry jam (and commenced much arguing about whether to eat one’s scone the Devon or the Cornish way), along with a good selection of cheese, crackers, hummus with dipping carrots and cucumber, homemade falafels and some fabulous tipples. We also had some great goodies sent to us that are just perfect for this week.
Tonic for the lazy picnicker, Ross & Ross kindly provide a pre-packed hamper with oodles of goodies inside it ready for you to just pick up and go. This Cotswold-based catering company has nailed the art of great dining, no matter the location, and is keen as a blood-hound for discovering the best products the South West has to offer.
We were swinging a Man Box hamper merrily along to our park picnic site, and it contained two bags of Mr Trotter’s pork scratchings, two sticks of cured meat, including spicy chorizo, a couple of craft beer (one from our own Bristol-based Wiper and True and a Premium Cotswold lager, and a couple of Ross & Ross’ own delicious chutneys, which went down a treat with the huge selection of cheese we had brought along. What’s more the cardboard hamper opens out flat so that you can spread your wares on it – all the better if you’ve forgotten your picnic blanket.
Ross & Ross are meat curing specialists, event caterers and, just like us, are really passionate about local artisan producers, and that certainly shows in their carefully constructed boxes. We just tried the one, but there are plenty on offer, such as the Spicy Man Box and the BBQ Hamper. As we opened the hamper, we all had the same thought: ‘Father’s Day gift!’
What is a summer picnic in the park without gin? To accompany our selection of fat juicy scones, strawberries, jam and lashings of proper Devonshire cream with needed the right tipple, and it needed to be easily transportable – to fit in our little wicker baskets. Greenall’s new summer gin-in-a-tin range was just the ticket. As well as the classic G & T we sipped gin with pink grapefruit, gin with wild berries and (my favourite) gin and Sicilian lemon. The lemon taste was zingy and refreshing on a warm muggy day.
Need some inspiration? Pop along to our Pinterest page here and feast your eyes on some truly pretty picnics