We all know that ants can ruin a picnic, but so can a slew of other scenarios. A soggy-bottomed sandwich, stale food, litter…these are just a few of the situations that can turn a happy, sunny day sad.
But the perfect picnic is within your grasp. And who better to help you achieve it than Wendy Weston of New York’s Perfect Picnic (perfectpicnicnyc.com), a picnic delivery service specializing in personalized and gourmet picnics for that perfect day out.
Perfect Picnic delivers prepared totes to New Yorkers filled with locally made goodies, like cured meats from Salumeria Biellese, sea salt caramels from Liddabit Sweets, and Maggie’s Round raw cow’s milk cheese by Cricket Creek Farm. (They even throw in a mini picnic blanket.)
Picnics range from a classic spread for $14 to a Platinum Picnic for two for $500 that includes Petrossian caviar and smoked salmon by Russ and Daughters. Wendy says her high-end picnics are popular with young men wanting a sweet, al fresco way to pop the big question.
Regardless of what you plan to do on your picnic blanket, here’s some advice for making it go smoothly:
- Pack sensibly. “Don’t weigh yourself down with heavy accoutrements,” says Weston. “Stay nimble and leave the real plates and cutlery at home.” Do remember to take napkins, however. If there’s one thing you can count on at a picnic, it’s someone spilling the potato salad.
- Baskets are quaint, but not always practical. So, skip the cutesy wicker pannier and opt for a bag that you can carry around easily, especially if you’re headed to that super-secret out-of-the-way picnic spot. “Something portable and easy to carry like one of our fabulous totes,” Weston says. A backpack or cooler (on wheels) is also easy to lug around.
- Pick a spot that makes sense. And it doesn’t have to be a park. The perfect picnic spot really depends on the picnicker. It might be a public park, a private rooftop or something that requires hiking boots and a compass to get to. Weston’s advice when picking your spot: be creative. “It doesn’t have to be outdoors. Remember, picnicking is a state of mind. I love my rooftop, and I really love my bed, which is a great spot for a picnic. My daughter likes to picnic on the ottoman.”
- When it comes to bread, go crusty. There is nothing worse than a squelchy sandwich. If you must make a sandwich, use a crusty bread that will stand up to any bit of moisture that may come into contact with it. “Soggy bread is a drag! Avoid this altogether by bringing a fresh baguette and making the sandwich onsite,” advises Weston. “Or even better: keep it European style.” In other words, rip off a chunk of bread, break off a piece of cheese and go nuts.
- Eat your vegetables. Salad is one of the toughest foods to bring to a picnic. Leafy greens go limp when they’re dressed for too long. And if you leave them naked to dress onsite, they can dry out. Instead, says Weston, “Opt for pickled vegetables. They’re healthy and stay perfect all day!”
- Break the open container rule. It’s always a good idea to find out what the open-container rules are in your favorite picnic spot. And that’s because it’s always a good idea to bring booze. Go for something light, refreshing and low in alcohol, like a bottle of moscato: the perfect picnic wine. You can keep the bottle in a thermal sleeve, which both hides it and keeps it cool. Even less conspicuous — and possibly even more fun — a home-bottled cocktail.
- Leave no trace. Think of it as the opposite of the Vegas rule: what goes to the picnic, leaves the picnic. Make sure you bring a garbage bag so that you can carry out whatever you brought into your carefully chosen picnic spot. Compostable or biodegradable dishes, like Verterra Disposable Dinnerware, made with fallen leaves, will keep your chosen green space that much greener.