Follow these 6 simple tips to achieve the perfect stress-free, yet elegant summer picnic! My favorite way to dine outside? Cheese and fruit boards, of course!
Is there anything more magical than spending an afternoon dining al fresco in summer when we’ve still got an abundance of daylight? I’m sharing my top 6 tips for pulling off an easy summer picnic, including a list of must-haves that you won’t want to forget. The perfect summer picnic is easier to pull off than you think and comes together quickly with a little foresight and planning.
How to host a summer picnic in 6 steps
1. Keep your food SIMPLE. I’m talking cheese, fresh fruit, a few Italian meats, and a perfect fruit spread, such as Bonne Maman INTENSE Strawberry Fruit Spread. Use what’s seasonal and local; in summer where I live in New England, that means fresh berries and figs!. The best part? You can assemble charcuterie boards ahead of time! Create the summer cheese board of your dreams, cover tightly with plastic wrap, then let it hang out on the counter for an hour or two before you’re ready to go. These boards are so incredibly simple to transfer, and you’ll be thankful for the variety they offer. Also, cheese slices and scoops better when it’s been sitting out at room temperature for a bit, a very important and often overlooked part of serving cheese!
2. Don’t bother bringing a bottle opener. Make sure all beverages are either twist off or have a screw top. Critical. My go to wine of choice? In summer I’m serving rosé all day.
3. Make sure you have a cute picnic basket or container to help carry all additional items — silverware, napkins, serve ware. Way better than lugging it all by hand! I picked up this adorable wicker basket from West Elm last season.
4. To keep things easy, I always stick with finger foods. That means people can pick up and grab what they like, but silverware isn’t a must unless someone absolutely wants it. I also find communal eating to bring out better conversation amongst guests. People tend to open up more when they’re eating with their hands.
5. A variety of fruits and cheeses is great, but don’t bother bringing a million different spreads. Stick to one high quality option to offer your friends and family, like this Bonne Maman INTENSE Strawberry Fruit Spread from Bonne Maman. If you love fresh strawberries, you will go crazy over it’s homemade taste. Tastes like fresh strawberries picked fresh from the bush, and it pairs exceptionally well with a variety of cheeses and Italian meats. Bring a small spoon for scooping or literally dip right into the jar – the choice is yours! But trust me, a small round of brie with a scoop of fruit spread? HEAVEN.
6. Always (and I mean always) bring dessert! That doesn’t mean you need to make it from scratch. Stop at your favorite bakery and pick up something sweet to round out the meal. You will literally never regret it.
If you follow these 6 simple tips, you’re well on your way to the the perfect al fresco picnic! Crusty bread not optional.
How to assemble a cheese board:
Simply put, I stick to the following ratios of cheese to meat : dips / spreads and just adjust quantities based on the number of people I’m feeding.
- 3-4 cheeses (mix up textures, meaning 2 semi-soft, 1 semi-hard, 1 hard). I also try to use a variety of flavors, for example: 1 soft goat cheese, 1 soft sheep’s milk cheese, 1 hard cow’s milk cheese, 1 blue cheese) – you’ve covered all your bases!
- 2-3 thinly sliced Italian meats (prosciutto, speck, salami)
- 2-3 fresh fruits ( grapes, apples, fresh figs, etc.)
- 1-2 dried fruits (apricots, cranberries, etc.)
- 1-2 high quality spreads or dips (such as Bonne Maman INTENSE Fruit Spread)
- 2-3 your favorite crackers, making sure to vary the texture and shape!
- crusty baguette
There are so many options to make cheese boards your own. Have fun and feel free to use up whatever is lying around your fridge and pantry!
Want to take your summer picnic over the top? Don’t forget:
- A good book or magazine!
- If you’re bringing a bottle of vino, a wine holder or cooler to prevent it from falling over and to keep cool in the summer sun.
- Absolute necessity? A cozy blanket to lay everything out on (including yo’ self!)
- Napkins or paper towels!
- Serveware, as needed.
- Plan to stick around after lunch? Don’t forget a game or two!
Off to create another cheese board with my 5 year old who, thanks to all the charcuterie spreads we’ve been enjoying this summer, has decided that is her preferred lunch of choice. Mine too, Nora. Mine too.
If you follow these tips to create your own summer picnic, please let me know by leaving a review below!
For inspiration on homemade dishes to serve at other picnics, check out the following recipes:
This post was sponsored by Bonne Maman. All text and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Well Seasoned possible.