I am a huge fan of picnics in general, if you need any convincing just check out my post on Creative Picnics to Pack for Summer! I'm also a huge fan of French culture and packing a French style-picnic for a summer evening is the perfect way to combine those two loves.

The French have mastered the art of dining in the open air: packing a cute basket full of delicious treats to enjoy in a park, in the middle of the countryside, drifting down a river, or on a balcony gazing at the Eiffel Tower.

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While the later is probably not realistic for most of us, there are some key ingredients you can find at home to bring a "mode de France" to wherever you're at. 


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The French love their cheese, and for good reason! There are so many varieties than can be found in the local fromagerie (cheese shop) from across the country, Europe, and beyond. Often, each farm or type of cow has it's own special cheese associated with them. For a basic guideline, I'd recommend four different types of cheese to bring to any picnic (or cheese board). 

1. Cheddar Cheese : I'm partial to white aged cheddars (2+ years) but any aged cheddar should work.

2. Hard Cheese: Gouda is my go-to, but other hard cheeses like Perorino Romano, Stilton, Gorgonzola, or a similar cheese works well. 

3. Soft Cheese: Camembert, Brie, Gruyere or most goat cheese are great!

4. Vegan Cheese: For all my fellow lactose intolerant folks, a good vegan cheese can be hard to come by but is such a lovely surprise on a cheese board. I'm a big fan of Treeline's herbed cashew cream cheese.

Fruits and Jams

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Fruit is a necessity for any good cheese board or picnic. For some more French-focused fruits, try strawberries or grapes as they are commonly cultivated in the countryside. Don't forget the jams! Jams are a great addition to cheese and crackers or bread, some wonderful combos are brie and blackberry (try eating with French bread or on top of pear slices), cheddar cheese and apple, or strawberry jam and goat cheese on crackers. 

Meats and Sides

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For the meat eaters out there, try prosciutto or sliced salami. Hummus or other bean dips are a great vegan alternative. If you want some other extras try pickles, sliced red pepper or carrots, olives, or pistachios. 

Bread! (and Crackers)

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Arguably the most important item (aside from the cheese), a good French baguette is a classic choice you can't go wrong with. Other fun alternatives are ciabatta for a more Italian dinner, or gluten-free breads. For crackers, Ritz, saltines, and gluten free seeded crackers or whatever else you desire are all great to pack along. 

Wine and Other Fun Drinks

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A bottle of wine- red, white, Champagne, rosé, you can't go wrong. Pick up a wine from the store made in France to transport you to the "campagne francaise". Other fun drinks are sparkling juice for those underage, Fresca, or sangria. 


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You can't end a French evening without a bite of chocolate. Try making these vegan chocolate truffles (gluten free as well!), bring a bar of chocolate to share, or get even fancier and make a chocolate rasperry tart to share at the end of you meal.

Whatever you decided to do, I hope the experience was wonderful and brought a bit of fondness for French culture into your life!

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