If you would love to go to Paris, but do not have the funds or the time, grab a couple friends and put together this picnic full of delicious ingredients that will take you right to the 7th arrondissement.
Pick and choose from the following categories to create your own perfect picnic:
The base. Go for cured meats like salami or prosciutto which pair well with a variety of cheeses. Smoky chorizo or sausage work well too. Mix and match to create a wider spectrum of flavor.
#SpoonTip: Remember, balance is key. In every aspect of the picnic, you want to make sure you have a good balance between salty, sweet, spicy, rich and fresh.
Choose your cheese based on the meat you want to bring. A couple tips to pairing cheese and smoked meats can be found here. Keep in mind the acidity and texture of the cheese so the flavors can complement each other. Prosciutto pairs well with parmigiano reggiano. Chorizo or pepperoni are harder and spicier, so they pair wonderfully with a softer cheese such as brie, camembert or reblochon. This is a good place to go crazy and experiment.
#SpoonTip: Buy good quality ingredients. French picnics are all about appreciating the individual flavor of each food — buying good quality ingredients will give you the best flavors and the best picnic.
Fruit and Veggies
Meats and cheeses tend to be on the richer side, so including fruit in your picnic balances the heaviness with some freshness and a pop of color. Focus on what is in season. Want the lowdown on what’s fresh in spring? We got you. In summer, blackberries, strawberries, melons, peaches, and plums will be delicious. Here’s how to eat your summer produce.
Add dried fruits or jams to your meal for a contrast in texture. As for vegetables, radishes, olives, and tomatoes will complement the flavors of your picnic nicely.
Good bread is one of life’s little pleasures and the key to a successful picnic. In keeping with the French theme, a baguette is a perfect place to start. It’s crunchy and soft at the same time and is the perfect vehicle for meats, cheeses and jams.
#SpoonTip: Eat local. Recipes in France are simply guidelines to be adjusted by each person. Buy ingredients depending on where you are located: it will be more affordable, and better tasting.
In the true French spirit, no meal would be complete without a glass of wine, and let’s be real, a picnic is an excellent excuse to open up a bottle (as if you need one).
If you want red: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfindel
If you want white: Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
If you want non-alcoholic: sparkling soda/fruit juice or ginger ale
Sparkling wine or Champagne are fantastic options as well.
Here is a guide to some perfect wine and cheese pairings.
It does not get any simpler than a square of dark chocolate to finish off your picnic. It’s a combo of sweet and a little bitter, and is the perfect end to any French meal. Other options include classic macarons, or chocolate covered orange peel. Hopefully there is some wine left to complement the chocolate, but if not it’s completely understandable.
You can’t go wrong with this French picnic: buy good quality, in-season foods and balance your flavors, colors and textures with each other to create the perfect harmony.
Time to pack up your blanket and your basket, put on some accordion music and pretend you’re in the City of Lights, even if only for a meal.