The best kind of picnic is a non-picnic picnic, where you combine the sophistication of a proper dining experience with the outdoorsy ease of a picnic.
With 20 minutes of extra planning and an extra bag slung over your shoulder, you can go from a pile of supermarket containers to a very pretty spread indeed. We photographed our picnic in London’s Regent’s Park, and during the shoot at least five people paused, stared, and commented on how divine it looked. One bemused gent asked if we were about to crack out the silverware as he’d never seen place settings at a picnic before! The best thing is that it was simple to set up – two of us did it in no time at all. Read on for tips and our shopping guide.
To set-up your own non-picnic picnic, aim for a high-low aesthetic: Cheap and portable acrylic, tin and melamine serveware are elevated to new heights with help from proper cutlery and cloth napkins. If you have a car, you can also bring a few pieces of glassware and porcelain from home. To mimic the glam effect of a floral centrepiece – which is thoroughly impractical here – scatter large flowers and pots of supermarket herbs, which you can then use to make minty cocktails and garnish salads.
The high-low concept also extends to food, as you want it to be easy to make and carry…but also gorgeous and delicious! For example, I took a supermarket deli rotisserie chicken and dressed it up last-minute with lemon and herbs on a beautiful platter. A bottle of Rose & Elderflower presse was poured out and fancied-up with fresh berries and torn mint leaves straight from the pot. Bring whole hard boiled eggs, fresh bread loaves, and fruit & veg as these are easy to transport, simple to present, and can be sliced on the spot. Swing by the supermarket on your way and pick up the usual suspects: Great cheeses, deli meats, bags of nuts, a few sweet things.
Keep it simple, as you usually would, but dress it up at the ‘table’. Don’t forget things like salt shakers and serving spoons – You’ll be surprised at how luxurious a few indoor touches will feel!
We’re only halfway through Summer, so even if it’s raining today you still have plenty of time to plan your perfect picnic! See below for our favourite pretty picnicware recommendations. We’d love to see your colourful creations so don’t forget to share them with us on Instagram.
Fine-Dining Picnic Shopping Guide
1. Printed Steel Plates, from a selection at Liberty
2. Wiltshire Liberty Print Melamine Side Plate, Liberty
3. Anorak Kissing Squirrels Melamine Bowl, Selfridges
4. RiceDK Blue Melamine Cake Stand, Peerie Shop
5. Ombre Drink Dispenser, Marks & Spencer
6. Pretty Embossed Acrylic Wine Glass, Marks & Spencer
7. Acrylic Embossed Hi-Ball Glass, Marks & Spencer