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Birthday picnic menu ideas?

Hi everyone. I'm planning to take my girlfriend on a surprise birthday picnic later this month, and would like some help planning the "menu". Ideally I'd like to keep this French-themed.

I'm going to be making chocolate mousse cake with fresh fruit for dessert, so I don't really want anything too heavy, and the weather gets quite hot and humid where I live (I don't have a cooler and will be relying on ice packs and frozen drinks to keep things fresh).

I was thinking I could make some mini crust-less blue cheese quiches or just a regular medium sized quiche (with crust). Alternatively, I could make bread and bring along some nice cheeses (but not sure because of the weather, and I make quiche better than I make bread).

I'm not sure if this is going to be enough, or if it might be too heavy for a hot summer day, and would appreciate any opinions you would care to offer. I'm open to any other ideas you might have about mains/starters, but the chocolate mousse cake is a must (its her favourite).

Thanks!

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  1. I think your menu sounds fine. The quiche, a couple of French cheeses and a banquette. Plus, of course the cake. Just a thought, I would serve the fruit with the quiche and cheese.
    Check with a good liquor store for a French wine. They will be able to help you choose one in your price range.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gail

      What about a Niscoise salad? You can open the can of tuna right before you go, or even have seared tuna in a container with ice packs. Blanche your green beans and potatoes mix it all together with a homemade anchovy caper dressing and some delicate greens. Light and will balance a heavy mousse cake afterwards.

      1. re: cleopatra999

        Thanks Gail and cleopatra (sorry, not quite sure how to reply to both of you at once on these forums), I like the idea of a light salad to go along with the quiche, and yes, I will definitely consider having a nice wine or other similar beverage.

    2. I had the same thought about a salad nicoise Pack all of the prepared ingredients seperatly and buy one of the very nice imported tunas in a jar.
      Or if you do the quiche that would be great with a side of greens- maybe use a lighter flavored cheese so that your palate isn't overwhelmed before dessert. I actually had snack sized sandwiches made with a grainy bakery bun and spread with spicy dijon, arugala and a thin frittata. With a side of nice olives and maybe some greens that would be an option. I assume you will have a sparkling wine?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Ttrockwood

        We don't get nice imported tuna in jars in Hong Kong, I don't think! If I do go for a cheese, it would probably be something quite mild. I'm considering going with a good French cider as I know we both like it, the only question being, can I safely, and if yes should I, freeze cider or just keep it very cold?

        1. re: Sirrith

          Don't freeze the cider.
          It would go flat, at best, and the food doesn't need to be that cold anyways. Room temp is best for everything your're serving and starting with cold food and good insulation plus an ice pack will keep you below room temp for a pretty long time.

          1. re: caganer

            Thanks for the tip about the cider. Ice packs it is then!

      2. If you make a good quiche, then go with that. Possibly you could do mini crustless quiches that are baked in a muffin tin that way it will be easier to eat. LIke this: http://www.thekitchn.com/makeahead-re...
        Fresh berries are nice for a picnic or fresh cut melon.

        1. How about vichysoisse? Cold soup is one of my delights on a picnic. Easy to transport and serve.

          You could make it ahead and serve chilled.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Seeker19104

            I'm personally not that much of a fan of cold soup, but thanks for the suggestion!

          2. You don't have a cooler but could a cooler bag be obtained where you are? that will help keep things insulated with the icepacks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cleopatra999

              Yes, cooler bags should be available, I'll have to hunt around a bit, thanks :)

            2. Hi everyone, though I'd just say a big thanks for all the help! The picnic itself was a success, she absolutely loved it, and the weather did not cooperate which turned out to be a good thing since it wasn't as hot, and the mousse survived very easily.