The Perfect Picnic
This blog was written by Brit and Sarah owners of Modern Love Style Co, they work in events and are food enthusiasts at heart. Brit has 4 kids, aged 10, 7, 4 & 2 and is no stranger to quickly putting together a picnic or platter that can WOW a crowd. Sarah has worked in hospitality since she was 14 (she's a little older than that now) and has put together more platters than there are days in the year. Together, they love nothing more good food, having a wine and relaxing with family.
Here is our guide on how to plan the perfect picnic, starting with the essentials:
- Starting from the ground up, we like to have a great foundation and the Rudie Nudie picnic mat is perfect. Feel free to lounge comfortably on some scatter cushions or make it more formal around a table.
- Platter boards - your platter board choice will be determined by how many guests you have, but we love to build a platter up to create height, so don’t feel like it needs to be massive.
- Platter accessories are what brings it all together. We recommend having small bowls for dips and oily components such as artichokes, olives etc; plus knives for the cheeses, pastes and pates. For a more hands free approach, we also recommend serving spoons and miniature skewers for meats and other smaller components.
- Table settings - this is where we have the most fun and this is where you can really cater to your occasion. We recommend bringing out your favorite glassware, plates and cutlery. Napkins and tablecloths can really elevate a picnic into a special occasion.
- Drinks are purely based on personal choice, but we always have water on hand. Alcohol is completely optional.
- Good company - this is an absolute non-negotiable.
Whether it’s a platter for adults or for kids, the formula is the same. But you should consider how all of the elements will look on the plate and if you need to separate certain things, or is it ok to share? We recommend breaking your shopping list into the following:
- Cheese: Hard cheese, semi-firm, soft cheese & blue cheese. The key here is variety.
- Crackers: Water crackers, rice crackers, classic jatz, artisan crackers etc.
- Protein: Ham, salami, prosciutto, kabana etc; for vegetarian or vegan picnics you can add falafel or similar.
- Dips: Tzatziki, beetroot, capsicum and french onion are great variety choices.
- Veggies: Carrot, cucumber and celery sticks. These make a great dipping alternative and provide colour and texture. We also love to add vine tomatoes.
- Fruit: Strawberries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon and pineapple. HOT TIP: Cut passionfruit, pomegranate or kiwi to elevate the design and colour.
- Antipasto: olives, capsicum, artichoke, stuffed bell peppers and pickles.
- Breads and spreads (ie; butter).
- Filler: raspberry licorice twists, chocolate, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, bliss balls, dried fruits - the options are endless.
To start assembling the grazing board, place the dips and antipasto components into the smaller bowls and placing them based on the number used. For instance if we have one, that would go in the centre, but if you have three they would be placed evenly around the board. Then we move onto the cheese and place these evenly around the board. We then add in the protein, if using meats there are a number of ways you can present them (rolling, folding and slicing), we recommend doing a variety of these. Next add your crackers, veggie sticks and fruits - keep in mind colours, heights, textures and flavours. To finish, use the filler items to fill in gaps that you have between the major components, a full platter is a good platter. You could also consider using edible herbs or flowers to elevate the look, it’s important to balance the look and feel of the platter with foods that the crowd will actually eat.
Lastly but most importantly, enjoy! The process, the company and the food!
Note - Dietary requirements and allergy don’t need to be daunting, these days there are many great alternatives and things are well labeled.