There’s never been a better time to revisit the classic picnic and its many variants.
With many venues moving to focus on outdoor dining since COVID, outside and mobile dining experiences are getting a new lease of life. Whether it’s a mobile food van, or events where people are encouraged to bring their own treats and be safely together outside, alfresco situations are more popular than ever.
Sandwiches and salads are never out of fashion, and there’s no reason why you can’t bring a gourmet touch to classic picnics with a bit of imagination.
With separated picnic blankets, it’s possible to legally entertain a large group of friends this way, together in the beautiful outdoors.
Wherever I lay my rug…
Farmers markets are a great place to pick up new ideas, and ingredients, as well as catching some live music while eating something delicious as you sit under a tree in the open air.
If you want to add a bit of heat, barbecues are another classic option.
Many parks have barbecues already installed, or if you’re going off the beaten track, using a portable fuel or solar cooker is a great way to minimise environmental impact and maximise flavour.
For a different kind of moveable feast, consider a pub, cafe or restaurant crawl, with something different to eat or drink at each venue.
In the hills behind Byron Bay is deli, cafe and gourmet food store called Pantry 29. If you want some inspiration for your crawl with a comedy/SF twist, check out ‘The World’s End’!
Need professional help?
The Larder at Byron Bay can bring a delicious five star dining experience particular to you, wherever you are, and 2 Cooks in the Kitchen, based in Kingscliff, have been providing fine boutique catering inside and outside since 2012.
Seaweed Cuisine provides mobile catering, and the pop-up Juju bar service – working from Yamba to Brisbane – balances international flavours with hand-picked seasonal produce, and offers matched wines and beverages.
With a designated driver, micro-breweries or distillery tours can be a great way to cram a lot of different tastes into one day, if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the areas with a profusion of such options, like, you guessed it, the Northern Rivers of NSW.
If you have a large group, you can rent a Magic Bus with its own driver and sound system.
Back to the garden
Picnics are not just for kids, and they can be very nostalgic.
In the words of Enid Blyton, of Famous Five fame: ‘I don’t know why, but the meals we have on picnics always taste so much nicer than the ones we have indoors.’
Just don’t forget the lashings of ginger beer!