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What would be in your perfect picnic basket?

Just for fun (and maybe for ideas, as I've never been on a fun picnic) – If price and availability were unlimited (as in, you could include that croissant you had in Paris or discontinued 3D Doritos or homemade dishes from relatives who are no longer around), what would you put into your perfect picnic basket, just for yourself or to share with someone you love?

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  1. Water crackers, brie, smoked Columbia River white sturgeon, and a bottle of vino verde.

    1. Really good bread. A chunk of oka cheese, a chunk of limburger, and some sliced Bruce Packer's summer sausage. A bit of cream cheese, and my dad's homemade smoked salmon. Sliced onion for the limburger. Some spiced olives, pickled onions, pickled peperoncinos, dilled green beans. A tomato salad made with perfectly ripe local tomatoes. Some fresh, local fruit - maybe peaches, or cherries. A bottle or two of a nice, moderately hoppy beer, and some black cherry soda water for rehydration.

      And, to make it perfect, a large bag of chili-lime Spitz sunflower seeds, some more beer, a good book, and a picnic blanket for afterwards.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        I miss Oka. I can only get it when we go "home". Plattsburgh, NY, 45 mins south of Montreal.

      2. An assortment of tuna salad sandwiches and chicken salad on rye, tortilla chips and garlic dip, chocolate chip cookies, and iced tea.

        We have a great picnic basket that came with white plastic plates, mugs and flatware, all strapped in to the red and white checkered lining. It's convenient and cute.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kitchengardengal

          I have the exact same picnic basket! Two or three types of cheese, wine, a baguette and maybe a bottle of water or some cut up fruit.

        2. A few years ago, went to Wolf Trap with sister and bil to WATCH the rehearsal of Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" RADIO show... around Memorial Day weekend)!?! The "good" seats (under cover) disappeared before sister could buy them. We had lawn seats on the hill (very nice weather, so didn't matter. We packed this neat, collapsible cooker (on wheels) full of goodies that could be eaten room temp or cold. You could bring beer/wine (good seats not even allowed to have drinks under cover)... demographic was such that no fear of any ROWDY behavior!?! She made a few variations each on chicken/beef skewers... meat on sticks... with dipping sauces... double dipping ALLOWED. We had a pasta salad, watermelon/cantaloupe chunks. We spread our blankets and enjoyed the show. Only down side was 2 hours sitting my bony butt down on relatively hard ground!?!

          2 Replies
          1. re: kseiverd

            "[D]emographic was such that no fear of any ROWDY behavior!"

            Unless you're bothered by the oft-repeated chorus of "WHAT d'he say?"

            1. re: kseiverd

              I always make a special effort when packing a picnic for Wolftrap. In fact, I make what I call "Wolftrap Pasta Salad".
              Long story, but it's basically angel hair pasta, evoo, lemon juice and zest, fresh basil and tomato.
              It just isn't summer without making it and enjoying it at Wolftrap.

            2. Bien Cuit baguette & Kerrygold butter, sweet sopresatta, prosciutto di Parma, imported provolone, fig mostarda, roast Cornish hen, barley salad in an orange vinaigrette, green bean salad, Georgia peaches, my Mom's Pound Cake. Chilled white Valpolicella.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mcsheridan

                Excuse me, could I please picnic beside you? And maybe ask for a bite?

                1. re: FeeFee34

                  Okay, make that two Cornish hens. (I wasn't going to eat that theoretical Cornish hen all by myself; you need at least one for every two people on a picnic with all *this* food, but only one per person for dinner.)

              2. Scotch egg. Cherry tomatoes. Ham & Cheshire cheese sandwich. Genoa cake. Fentiman's Victorian Lemonade.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  I'm not sure if that has a hint of being pedestrian to you, but it sounds nearly exotic, as well as delicious, to me. I'm reserving the right to discretely bring my own flask, however.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Oh, I'm entirely with you - imbibers should most certainly bring booze, chilled or otherwise.

                    As for pedestrian, yes, perhaps. But, living on this small, cold, wet island off the coast of northern Europe, the opportunities for picnics are limited. It's therefore important that, on what may be the only opportunity that year, tradition is conformed to.

                    1. re: Harters

                      So why did you forget the branston pickle and pickled onions? Not even going to mention picalilli

                      1. re: kagemusha49

                        Branston & pickled onions have their place, but not on a picnic. The former fine on a plain ham sandwich, the latter with pork pie. And both with a ploughmans lunch - that tradtional preparation that goes all the way back to the 1960s.

                        Picalilli has no place anywhere.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Well if noone wants their scotch egg, you can always use it to play cricket.

                          1. re: kagemusha49

                            If we wanted to play cricket, we'd get some of the rock hard supermarket peaches.

                            1. re: Harters

                              My rule is peaches for real cricket and scotch eggs for French cricket

                              1. re: kagemusha49

                                Good call. LOL.

                                It's well over 50 years since I last played French cricket.

                2. A good Pinot Noir, and Beck's beer for mrbuffer. Ditto on the scotch eggs. A good brie with Triscuits (and a couple Lactaid pills). Good strawberries and green grapes. Homemade fried chicken and cole slaw. Limonata for me and Dr. Pepper for mrbuffer. Coconut macaroons.

                  We have a picnic backpack that mrbuffer bought me for my birthday many moons ago. Has service for 2, cheese board, knife, bottle opener, and an insulated compartment. Can't do without it!

                  1. Two large whole steamed cold dungeness crabs two bottles of cool not cold Prino Gris two fresh baguettes a tub of ghee with fresh squeezed lemon juice stirred in two pieces of strawberry and rhubarb pie my wife makes. (Never had better pies. She uses her grandmother's pie crust recipe. Flakey perfection)

                    1 Reply
                    1. Fresh limeade, cold fried chicken, gazpacho with shrimp, fudge brownies, peaches and nectarines.

                      We in fact take this picnic to Tanglewood most summers.

                      1. We do a lot of beach picnics which necessitates foods that it's hard to get sand into or are improved by that extra little crunch.
                        I love to bring Chunks of good cheese and sweet cherry tomatoes strung onto bamboo skewers. Sticky chicken drumsticks. Pringles are a must for these types of picnics. Same with lemonade.
                        We do this a lot, but it wouldn't take much to make it the picnic of my dreams. My perfect basket would include those mini bottles of champagne to sip while the sun sets.

                        1. Genoa salami, chaumes cheese, baguette, Greek pasta salad, red grapes, a couple of cold beers and a bottle of bubbly. Brownies for dessert.

                          1. A good sharp Vermont Cheddar, several firm red apples, a well rounded gouda and perhaps some fontina. A nice french baguette and a good Chateau Marguax, or a Petrus. (and thee)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Hue

                              Now there's a picnic basket that can go anywhere, anytime.

                            2. A good bottle of Bubbly, caviar with all the fix'ins and some candles.

                              1. Can I have another picnic? I posted my tuna sandwich lunch above (which DH and I now have plans for a picnic in the Cheaha Forest in Alabama) but now everyone's given me some ideas for an entirely different picnic.

                                One of my favorite alone time lunches is a perfect Comice pear with a big chunk of blue cheese and a crusty baguette. So that goes in the basket . A good tomato and some basil fresh from the garden, sliced at the last minute, and served on more of that crusty baguette with a sprinkle of smoked olive oil.
                                Some salt and white chocolate blondies, and bottle of cold seltzer water.

                                That will do it.

                                1. A bottle of David Bruce pinot noir, forelle pears, rainier cherries and the peaches from the orchard we used to live by, manchego, havarti and smoked gouda cheeses. The fabulous bockwurst I had in Germany with their great rolls. A lovely paté terrine and a salad with vinaigrette and some luque and niçoise olives.

                                  My husband said add Pecan pie for dessert LOL.

                                  Oh I forgot whole grain mustard for the sausage.

                                  1. Just about all of the suggestions sound pretty good to me......except the limburger. Have the picnic in Colorado and include a bag of primo bud and I might even try the limburger.

                                    1. A nice baguette with some Rouge et Noir Camembert and some pate de foie gras. Washed down with Domaine Chandon (we're going American produce here just for the heck of it). Might even go for some smoked salmon with appropriate fixings. Strawberries and Cornish clotted cream (is there an American version of that for dessert). On the drive home, stop off for some french fried artichokes if still peckish. We have this really nifty picnic table with benches that literally folds up into something the size of an attache case.

                                      1. Some amazing bread. Great unsalted butter. A pork terrine. Great cheese. Fresh berries - a selection. Tree-ripened peaches and sweet Tuscan melon. Lay's Classic Potato Chips with cream cheese dip. Some type of buttery pastry. Dark Chocolate. Fresh limeade. Mixed nuts. A lightly dressed salad of fresh baby greens.

                                        And whatever else I think of later.

                                        1. Oh, I have to post this link again for an amazing picnic at Serious Eats:


                                          1. I love this thread! My German father adored picnics and all outside dining and so many of the posts remind me of those times. I have many fond memories of grabbing something in town to enjoy at a rest stop in our travels.

                                            I was gifted a crazy fancy picnic basket for four and folding teak table two mothers days ago. We enjoy a good picnic. A nice dry white wine, good bread, cheese, and cold meat or seafood is our standard. Maybe a nut mix to nibble while we set up. I tend to do a lot of small containers, a bite or two per person of 5 or 6 things.

                                            Recently our son watched a show about sturgeon and wanted to try caviar. I did sliced cucumbers, caviar and dill. It was delicious with mineral water and wine. (In separate glasses)

                                            1. Cold roast pork loin sandwiches from a good fat heirloom hog, on homemade white bread with butter, a smear of mustard and some thinly sliced sweet onion. My family's potato salad (cubed boiled russets, boiled egg, onion, homemade mayonnaise and some dill), fresh greens to lay it on. A salad of chunked heirloom tomatoes done caprese style with chunks of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil cut in a chiffonade, dressed with just salt, pepper, and a plain vinaigrette. Some more bread with cheeses for nibbling before and after, grapes and cherries and stuff (surprise me!), a few crisp beers (such as Stella or Beck's) and – just to let you know this is fantasy – some unlabelled rosato from a small town in Puglia, still a bit young and fizzy, in a liter bottle with a crimped-on metal cap.

                                              1. To start steamed and then chilled artichokes with aoli for dipping. Nibbles of marcona almonds, mixed olives, marinated mushrooms. The gazpacho from that no name cafe in madrid, with some pan con tomate. Txakolina rose chilled to drink.
                                                Grandma's vanilla ice cream with mom's olallieberry cobbler (berries from the backyard) for dessert. A glass of Chateau d'Yquem saunternes to go with.

                                                1. Foie gras, a crusty loaf and French champagne maybe a truly ripe and perfect peach

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                    Add a ripe Gaugry Epoisses to that and I'm in heaven.

                                                  2. Homemade chicken salad, baguettes, cold shrimp with cocktail sauce, stinky cheeses, wine.

                                                    1. wine (fumé blanc, chablis, dry rosé) cheese (brie, aged gouda, bucheron, brin d'amour), fig paste, crusty baguettes, pears, dried apricots, almonds, country pate and goose liver pate with truffles, water crackers, summer sausage, prosciutto, preserved baby artichokes, hearts of palm, olives, grainy mustard, dilly pickled green beans, mushrooms a la grecque, sour cream pound cake, chocolate chip cookies.

                                                      and a big blanket to take a nap. ;-).

                                                      1. Gala pie
                                                        Red lentil köfte lettuce wraps
                                                        Artichokes stuffed with fava beans
                                                        Pickled cherry peppers stuffed with bread crumbs, cheese and anchovies
                                                        Humboldt Fog and Langres cheeses with almonds, cornichons, baguettes and crackers
                                                        Champagne and sparkling water with cucumber and lemon

                                                        1. Step 1: Go to the Italian deli and pick up a sub. Mortadella, proscuitto, salami, provolone, hot giardinera, and dressed lettuce on fresh coal oven-baked bread

                                                          Step 2: Let the sub sit in the wrapper for a couple hours so the vinegar and oil soak into the bread

                                                          Step 3: Grab a six pack of San Pellegrino blood orange and head for Palmisano Park. Climb the hill and enjoy the view of the Chicago skyline over the expressway traffic roaring by.