The French are great at throwing simple picnic gatherings. In Paris, it’s not uncommon to see groups of people lay out along the Seine, in front of the Eiffel Tower, at the Square du Vert-Galant, behind the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame, or in Bois de Vincennes. With a baguette, wedge of cheese and drink in front of them, they enjoy the simple pleasures of good food, great company and beautiful scenery.
I, personally, love simple picnics on the beach. And there’s nothing like an impromptu picnic on a road trip. Many interstate highways in America have rest-areas with lots of trees and picnic tables. Some even have mini museums, short walking trails, and bbq grills. So, it’s fun to stop at these rest-areas on a breezy day and relax with a loaf of bread, spinach leaves, fruits, nuts, seeds and a bottled drink.
When I want to do something different, I picnic with a theme in mind. One theme: The French Way.
Here’s what you’ll need to do a French-themed picnic:
- Picnic hamper, basket and/or bag
- Baguette. Baguettes are best when bought within a few hours of eating. They have a short shelf-life, turning hard and stale quickly. If you are into variety, you can pack an assortment of French breads: wholemeal breads (pain complet or pain aux céréales), rye bread (pain de seigle), sourdough bread (pain au levain), sweet bread (brioche), bread spiced with nuts (pain aux noix). There’s also, bâtard, pain de campagne, ficelle, fougasse, and croissant.
- Small selection of French charcuterie (saucisson, french salami, pâté)
- Small selection of French cheeses (camembert, brie, roquefort, boursin, reblochon, munster, chèvre, tomme de savoie, cantal)
- Small selection of fresh fruits, washed (apple, pear, berries, olives).
- Durable and re-useable wine glasses, plates, and utensils
- French rice salads such as Niçoise salad
- Bottle of good wine or grape juice
- Cutting board and knife
- Cloth napkins
- Fun companion(s)
- And finally, a beautiful location
You can add more French foods to your picnic basket like petit fours, crêpes, quiches, and chilled champagne. Or you can go with less. What’s important: stress-free fun! Happy picnicking!!!