The more I eat my way through study abroad, the more I find European classics that translate easily into typical Eugenian life. What is it this time? The perfect Parisian picnic (or pique-nique as the Frenchies say). Picnicking is something that we’ve all done, and honestly, what could be better than eating good food and drinking in the grass under the glorious Eugene sun? It’s a down-right American tradition. If you’re feeling like classing up your picnic this spring, I’ve concocted a simple guide to a delicious picnic that can be created with a few, campus-accessible and easy ingredients.
First things first: the wine. No respectable French meal is served without it. Red or white will do, and I highly recommend champagne for those of you feeling real classy. Not so 2-buck-Chuck (sells for $2.49 at Trader Joe’s) will do, as well as André because, let’s be real, we are all on a budget.
Next, the cheese. Here are my favorite types of French cheese:
1. Brie: One of the most common French cheeses in the U.S., brie is a soft, buttery cheese that has a mildly sharp, slightly earthy flavor. It is definitely not a ‘stinky’ cheese and so many Americans love it.
2. Camembert: Very similar to Brie in taste and creamy texture, but a slightly stronger flavor. Like Brie, the rind is edible and slightly crumbly.
3. Boursin: The most American of the cheeses. It comes in various herb flavors and has a consistency and texture similar to cream cheese.
4. Chèvre: The French word for ‘goat’, goat cheese is very pungent with a really earthy taste. It often comes covered in herbs and is typically for those who like more ‘stinky’ cheeses.
5. Roquefort: A type of bleu cheese made from sheep’s milk rather than cow’s or goat’s milk. Crumbly and creamy with a strong taste, it is considered the king of bleu cheeses.
Next, the baguette. The longer, thinner baguettes are the most classic. They are often slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, giving your bread and cheese pairing more texture.
Finally, the saucisson, or salami. I bought mine (shown below) from a butcher shop. You can do that or, just as well, buy some salami or prosciutto, which is thinly sliced Italian ham, from the grocery store.
Also pictured: Grapes are a great thing to add to any cheese plate-based picnic for a little bit of freshness reminiscent of the wine. Whether in Eugene or back home, this meal is a bit of Paris that will transport your taste buds to the city of love in an instant.