A gourmet picnic is usually served to enhance an open-air concert, opera festival, or glamorous sporting event.
You'll have lots of advance warning for the preparation of this type of picnic - it is no impromptu affair! The meal should be prepared with the flourish and style demanded by the forthcoming event and setting.
The meal is not the only point of consideration - you also have to think about how to show it off to its best advantage. A posh picnic must be beautifully dressed, with a fresh, clean cloth and attractive tableware.
With elegant table decorations and food
garnishes, a picnic meal gets given the wow factor. You can match cutlery to napkins, tablecloth to cushions, plates
to parasols, if you wish.
Sitting cross-legged on a blanket or picnic rug is unlikely to appeal at a gourmet picnic, so a fold-up table and chairs should be included in your picnic packing.
Remember you are sometimes restricted by what you can carry but if you keep things simple but as beautiful as possible (elegant cutlery and fresh flowers) you will still impress your guests.
Use clear crystal or glassware, because wine and champagne do not look so attractive in coloured perspex, and try to use ones with a wide base, which are less likely to topple.
See-through, umbrella type, food covers are a useful addition to the co-ordinating tableware and cutlery. They allow the picnickers to see the beauty of the feast, while keeping out unwanted wasps and flies.
It's little touches like these that will linger in the memories of your guests, long after they've forgotten what they ate on that glorious day.
It’s of prime importance that you take into consideration how the food and drink is to be transported and served.
Every detail of this picnic should be carefully thought out, well in advance. Planning is essential and a list more important than ever.
Often the occasion will kick off with Champagne or a large glass of Pimms - so you need to be well organised or it might all go horribly wrong!
The meal should feature traditional, as well as contemporary favourites, to ensure it is perfect for a special family gathering at the races, or a theatrical performance in a garden with friends.
The gourmet picnic must suit the season, the location and the traditions of the occasion but with just a few key components you can quickly create an elegant and inviting alfresco table.
Appearing out of hampers and baskets at a glamorous picnic you’ll often see whole dressed salmon or salmon en croute, beef Wellington, succulent lobster or king prawns, as well as a whole array of other gourmet treats.
A guest at such an event cannot fail to be pleased with such elegant picnic starters as:
Often, in England in the summer, the traditional desert is fresh strawberries bathed in cream but you might prefer an exotic fruit salad, a summer pudding, no bake cheesecake, gooseberry fool, or honeyed grapes in individual crystal glasses.
This tasty menu could be completed with a platter of carefully chosen fine cheeses, with crisp celery and oatcakes.
If you have no time or inclination to create a gourmet picnic menu yourself, you can always order a hamper from a caterer. This is a trouble-free solution although more expensive and doesn't give you that sense of achievement when your guests compliment you on the meal!
If you'd like more ideas you might like to check out The gourmet picnic menu page on the Food Revolution site. It will give you additional suggestions, along with some tips to guarantee a perfect occasion, with minimum stress!