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Jul 13, 2008 01:22 PM

Tanglewood Picnic Shopping

Heading to Tanglewood in a couple weeks and was planning a lawn picnic.

Tanglewood has their own order in advance picnic that looked kind of basic.
Are there any suggestions for local stores in the Berkshires to purchase picnic food?
What foods would make the ideal picnic?

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  1. I recently went to Tanglewood with some friends. I decided to make my own picnic basket for my husband and I, and our friends ordered a basket from here:

    They ordered the #1 basket. We shared all the food. I was impressed with the high quality of their items, and especially liked the smoked chicken. Moist and very flavorful. I don't think I ate anything else from that basket. My husband did though and thought it was great.

    I brought fried chicken, a baguette, cheese, crudites and dip, strawberries, grapes, pretzels and crackers, small chocolate bars from Belgique in Kent, CT (which is on the way for us), and an apple pie as this was for our friend's birthday and his favorite dessert is homemade apple pie, so I made one early in the morning before the trip so it would be fresh.

    We brought a selection of wine, beer, and water.... My favorite wine being the Cerdon de Bugey, a pink sparkling wine that is so refreshing in the summer and goes great with food.

    We also brought a corkscrew (two in fact) which was good because others had forgotten theirs.

    1. Price Chopper in Lee has picnic foods and wine and is the best buy also the burrito place in Lee is okay for hot food. Do NOT eat at the Tanglewood Cafes. The prices are astronomical for cafeteria food that isn't very good. There is a gourmet wine and picnic place in both Lenox and Pittsfield (mini chain) that looks yummy but prices are high. They have a great wine selection and screw cap bottles are the way to go.

      1. Forget the "picnic baskets", my wife's and my favorite is to get a nice bottle of wine, some good prosciutto or salametti, and a nice assortment of cheese, bread and fruit.

        1. Guido's. There is one in Great Barrington and one in Pittsfield. Check out their web site. Everyone in the area loves Guido's. You can get everything you need and will not be disappointed. From outstanding cheese selections, to wine, to pastries to amazingly good prepared foods, you'll have a huge assortment to choose from. Seafood, quiche, salads, meat dishes, sandwiches...anything you need, it's there. All you will need is a corkscrew, an appetite and a camera to document your group chowing on the gourmet grub. Have fun.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mvi

            Don't know about Guido's but you can't go wrong with salumi, cheeses, fresh fruit and bread. A picnic is so personal - home made or ordered - go with what you love.
            Bring it with you!
            Have fun with it.
            Champagne, prosecco or even a vigno verde.
            We've seen everything on the lawn - from mcdonalds to foie gras.

          2. Definitely Guido's. They have everything...prepared foods, salads, fruit, cheese, everything you could want.

            except for the wine...I don';t think they sell wine there, but mvi may remember something I don't. There is a great wine shop in Lenox in any case.

            we usually prepare our own though. I like cold chicken, roast or fried. Interesting sandwiches, like brie, prosciutto and fig confit. Quiches make a nice light entree. Sometimes I make vichysoisse, or chilled strawberry soup. Cheese and bread and fruit are always in my picnic basket.

            7 Replies
            1. re: ChinaCat

              Hi ChinaCat. They do sell wine in the Great Barrington store and actually have a nice selection. In the back, on the left. Near the flowers. Does anyone know about the Pittsfield branch of Guido's? I assumed they sold wine there, too. Everyone in that area who lives there loves Guido's.

              1. re: mvi

                The Guidos on the Pittsfield-Lenox road (RT. 7) does sell wine. However, as a local who shops there primarily because there are very few alternates, I cannot recommend it as being such a great place. I've often bought prepared foods that were long out of date and rancid, stale breads and boxed food such as crackers, fruits and veggies beyond their prime, etc. It's simply the best of not much that's offered. Certainly does not stand up to gourmet stores in large cities and/or Whole Foods or even Trader Joes.

                1. re: mjoyous

                  Basically (alas) I'm with mjoyous. But Guido's meat department, although expensive, is high quality, especially the Murray's chicken, so that's a staple for us. That probably won't help you on a picnic, though! Prepared foods are disappointing; they use a different supplier than the G. in Great Barrington. Their wine prices are high. The Nejaimes in Lenox on Main Street (or the one on Route 7) has lots of wine at all price ranges; you can get very good not-so-expensive wine and they'll help you find it, rather than just steering you toward the high-priced stuff. Their olives and nuts are exceptional. Their cheeses can be excellent, but be sure to taste before you buy, some are boring and others are not in tip-top shape. Their own Lavasch crackers (the patriarch invented them) are great with cheese.
                  If you get there early enough, they may have good baguettes and foccaccia. For really excellent bread, the Price Chopper on Route 7 (not so far as it sounds) is the place. Their new Dakota bread or the three or four-cheese breads are first-rate. As for fruit for dessert that everyone's recommending here --- you're on your own. No place has reliably good fruit that I've discovered, and I live here year-round. But if you're not so high-minded, in Nejaimes ask if they have any Dutch Desserts (D.D. is their name). If they have a mixed berry tart, or an all-chocolate one, small size or large, go for it. The crust is different from pie crust, and can be addictive. Don't forget the silver candelabra! (I'm not kidding, you'll see lots of 'em.)

                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                    that's sad about Guido's. I don't shop there very often anymore, but we bought many picnic supplies there in past years and thought it was terrific.

                    Nejaimes is the wine store in Lenox I was trying to remember. We've gotten very nice wine and cheeses there.

                    Another place we go to is Taft Farms in Great Barrington. You might find good fruit there, and they make excellent fruit pies (the apple and blueberry were great just last weekend). They also sell some baked goods...cookies and the like that might fill out a basket.

                    1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                      Great point's Tsarina! I discovered Dutch Desserts this season, and have tried the two you mentioned (am hooked on the chocolate.) Have been buying them at either Troy of Lenox farmer's market, and discovered they freeze beautifully and still keep that lovely crust.
                      I like Guido's chicken too, and as I said, it seems to be the best of the alternatives. But now have to try the lavasch at Nejaimes.
                      By the way--for really great bread, if anyone is on the road, go to the source: Berkshire Mountain Bakery (they sell from their actual bakery) on Rt. 183 on the way into Great Barrington.

                      1. re: mjoyous

                        Joyous, if you haven't already, try heating the chocolate tart in a very low oven, like 250 or 275 degrees for maybe 5 to 7 minutes. Swoon!!!!!!!!!!! Mr. Dutch Desserts (I think his name is Keith) suggested this to me at the Lenox Farmer's Market. Also, a word to Tanglewood goers who stop by the Lenox Market, Fridays, 2-5: you can pick up fabulous brownies and chocolate chip cookies there from the DD people. Check out the Bizalion's stand for cheese and various French goodies, and also the cold soups from the Soup Lady; these both are "luck of the draw", which might add to the suspense of the evening. Sort of foraging for your meal? :-)

                        1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                          Thanks again. Have been eating the tart at room temp; will try the low heat technique!