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Updated: May 7

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming—and that gingham blanket that’s been sitting in the back of the closet all winter is ready to make its much-anticipated return. That means, it’s time for a picnic! Outdoor meals require little planning and can be as simple or as elegant as you’d like. Al fresco dining is one of the great joys of summer – food seems to taste better when eaten in the open air – and the quintessential picnic is no exception. Still, the key to a successful picnic is plenty of planning. Location, location, location your choice of location can make or break your picnic. Make sure you consider the needs of everyone in your group and you won’t go far wrong. What to pack Without a doubt – the culinary delights you pull from your picnic hamper should steal the show. But when planning the perfect picnic, it can be difficult to know where to start! Here are our top tips for what to pack. 1. Nothing too messy This is the big one. Whilst picnics are delightful, cleaning up afterwards and dealing with sticky fingers or stained clothes isn’t. So where you can stick to foods that can be easily split or cut up and shared. Or forgo any cutting altogether and opt for easy bite-size treats which works for both. 2. Don’t Stick to Formal Courses Picnics are supposed to be casual and should be just as enjoyable for the host as everyone else, so instead of planning distinctive starters, mains and desserts, create a buffet spread you can lay out when you get there, then sit back and enjoy it with everyone else. 3. Remember the Classics are Classics for a Reason Sandwiches, savoury treats like scotch eggs and sausage rolls and timeless desserts like brownies, cake slices and cookies are picnic favourites for a reason. They taste amazing and they’re easy to eat al fresco. So put your own spin on these classic picnic hits for your next outing. 4. Keep Sauces Locked up Tight Chances are, not matter what you serve, someone is going to want dipping sauces. Before including them in your picnic, make sure they’re in tightly sealed containers so you wont have any spillages on the move. Picnic food ideas Let’s be honest, all this planning is nothing if you get the food wrong. It’s the most important part to your guests. All other aspects of the planning will generally go unnoticed, as the guests will assume everything has just fallen into place, and not think you have planned everything in advance. But if the food hits the spot everyone will know you came up with the goods. The different types of picnic food ideas are so numerous that it’d be impossible to even scratch the surface in one post. But one great idea that people have always given good feedback is themed picnics. the Tuscan picnic would include a Panzanella, a Condito with beans and tomatoes, and of course a barbecue with pork ribs and sausage. And to finish a great jam Crostata The big clean up This one is pretty simple. You’ve had a perfect picnic because the people before you were considerate enough to tidy up after themselves. So do likewise, or go one better and leave the area cleaner than when you got there This doesn’t take much effort, as long as you plan for the fact you should clean up after your picnic. Packing a few extra bin bags will probably be enough, but depending on what games you play, what food you eat, and where you go, you might need a few extra things. I’m sure your smart enough and have cleaned up after yourself long enough to know what you’ll need.

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