When it’s time to pack your hamper and hit the wilderness, there are foods and drinks you must pay particular attention to. Cheese, wine and sandwiches spring to mind first. But where do you go to get the best for your basket? Head to these shops to make the most out of your alfresco gourmet chow-down...
Must-have picnic items
Carrot and celery sticks are taken to a totally new level when they’re slathered in dip. And mason jars are the best way to carry them around so you can nibble and dunk throughout the day. They can be sweet or savoury, just like the dips and spreads from Picnic on Forbes. There’s a reason this place is called Picnic.
What’s a picnic without cheese? The stuff was made for the outdoors. Try to buy it just before you head out, though, to get the best out of the cheese. Harder varieties such as mimolette, pavé toulousain and comté are no-brainers, but softer cheeses like camembert or bonde en gatine are quite resilient in the heat too. There are plenty of places to buy gourmet cheeses but getting them direct from importers online guarantees fresh produce and honest prices. Check out gourmet-en-provence.com or repertoireculinaire.vn.
Preferences tend to lean towards reds when it comes to outdoor eating because they taste just as good in the sun as they do at room temperature. Our fave is McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate cabernet sauvignon. The bold flavours hold their own against the stronger notes of hard cheeses. This sip also pairs well with charcuterie boards. $99. Available citywide inc Great, LG/F, Two Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2918 9606; reatfoodhall.com.
Unless you’re able to keep your basket in a temperate climate during transport, pre-sliced hams can get greasy quickly. Try bringing salami or saucisson and slice it while you’re munching. Newly opened Cochin is a delicatessen which supplies a delicious Jésus saucisson from Pierre Oteiza which contains black peppers. It also sells a top saucisson infused with truffles and parmesan.
Pre-making your sandwiches ensures everyone can dig in as soon as you arrive at the picnic spot, but remember to hold the sauce and pack wet ingredients such as salad separately to avoid a soggy mess. Make your own or buy from a shop. Tell the staff not to put any sauce on. If you do this at Bread & Beast, the guys are more than happy to accommodate.
Nothing’s worse than sticking your fork into a slimy, greasy sludge when you’re expecting a crunchy salad. Skip the leafy green vegetables in your mixing bowl and go for root veggies such as beetroot, carrots and potatoes instead. Cauliflower and broccoli fare well too. Passion by Gérard Dubois makes an awesome beetroot and mandarin salad that fits the bill.
Crumbly and sweet. You can’t have a picnic without a pie. It’s a dessert that tastes just as good warm or cold. Fruit pies such as cherry and blueberry from Tai Tai Pie Pies really draw a picnic to a good close. They’re easy to pack and they’re sturdy enough to travel. Just make sure you pick a variety that’s not made with dairy so it arrives fresh.