The perfect picnic basket

  • Food
  • 05.08.20
Words Waitrose 05/08/20

Soak up the sun with an alfresco lunch! This can be a fun activity, but packing a picnic basket can be a daunting task especially if you’re doing it for the first time. To get you started, here’s a round-up of everything you’ll need.


To store

For a stress-free start to your picnic, ensure you invest in a sturdy picnic basket. A traditional one is usually made of wicker or woven fibre. Over the years, designs have evolved to make them more user-friendly, so it is not uncommon to now find baskets with built-in coolers, holders for beverages, and even backpack-style picnic bags you can take on a long walk.

Nothing can be more frustrating than reaching your picnic spot and having to spend time wiping leakages or clearing up spills in your basket, so if you want to avoid that scenario, pack your food in plastic boxes with robust snap-on lids.

[ Smart storage ]

To savour

The high point of the event is when everyone gathers around the blanket to enjoy the tasty treats that have been stowed away in the basket. From simple sandwiches to multi-layered mains like quiches and pies, your options are endless - just don’t forget, the simpler the better. Sandwiches, salads, dips, as well as packaged snacks never disappoint. Some of the best things you can put between bread are mozzarella, eggs, grilled chicken and bell peppers, so get creative with the sandwiches. Greek salad, pasta salad and savoury pastry goods are sure to bring everyone back for seconds.

Lastly, toss in some dips and crisps that can be quickly devoured when you arrive at your picnic pitch and the crowd is hungry.

A classic picnic basket beverage and one that appeals to all age groups is a good old fashioned lemonade, but it is also important to stay hydrated when you’re outdoors, so don’t forget to carry water. Mix still or sparkling water with cordials to make refreshing summer beverages.

[ The perfect setting ]

To serve

A feast isn’t enjoyable if you haven’t got the right serving ware. Reusable plates will be a hit with eco-friendly family members and friends. Bright colours and bold prints double up as decor elements for Instagram and can add instant cheer to your picnic set-up. Don’t forget to pack cutlery, cups and napkins too. With everyone using their fingers to grab their favourite food, anti-bacterial wipes and a bottle of sanitiser will also come in handy.

Be prepared
[ Be prepared ]
Tasty treats
[ Tasty treats ]

To surprise

Who doesn’t love surprises? A few fun treats such as gummy bears will make everyone happy, and provide a sugar boost for the walk back to the car. Adding a mini cheese platter is a nice touch, as is a French baguette to go alongside. Or how about some croissants or pains au chocolat? After all, picnic – or pique-nique ­– is a word given to us by the French.

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