Summer. What's not to love about our most carefree season? Aside from the heat, of course. One the best things about warm weather is being able to take our meals outside. Having an early morning coffee on the patio or firing up the grill for a late night supper is right up my alley. I also love easy meals that don't require much if any, cooking, and picnics combine both - relishing the outdoors and zero obligation to be in front of a hot stove.
Always wanting to be prepared to picnic in style, I spend a lot of time (probably too much) gathering supplies. I unabashedly confess to having a complete and utter obsession with packaging. It's borderline ridiculous. I have been known to buy items I never even open based solely on the packaging. Please tell me I'm not the only one. My current stash is of epic proportions and I have no intentions of paring down my trove. Since we're friends and obviously love the same things, I thought it fit to share my tips and resources to help you up your picnic game with my favorite swoon worthy supplies!
Thick Cotton Twine or Waxed Hemp Cord
I like to use a combination of twine, string, or cord to tie up wrapped sandwiches or bagged items. You could certainly use just one type but I like the added detail and contrast of using several. This thick cotton twine works well with bulkier items like sandwich wraps. And I find that using a thin waxed hemp cord makes a secure knot on bags or odd shapes like the pie boxes. I tend to gravitate to neutral colors for packaging but when I'm feeling festive I'll pull out this chunky black and white or red bakers twine.
Wood Baking Molds
Originally I found these years ago in France and would purchase several bundles in various sizes and bring them back in my luggage or ship a box home. But recently, I found nearly identical ones! They are perfect for serving French butter and radishes as seen here but would be wonderful for crudite and hummus, fresh cut fruit, small salads, cheese and nuts, or just about anything. Intended for baking, the smaller size molds make an adorable presentation for individual sweet treats. (I use the larger ones during the holidays for gifting breads). I also love that they make picnic fare easy to hold and are biodegradable so there's no need to worry about waste. My favorite sizes are here and here.
Kraft Pastry Boxes
These are great for individual desserts. I've used them for pies, tarts, cheesecake, and even brownies. I continue to buy this kind because they come with adhesive dots to help them stay together, waxed liners, and forks! Speaking of which, these are my favorite affordable, eco-friendly utensils.
Natural Parchment and Waxed Bags
I always keep two kinds of parchment on hand - white and natural to wrap cheese or sandwiches. These waxed bags make packing lunch stylish and fast. Just slip your sandwich, crackers, or cookies inside, roll them up and tie with twine. Or, you could fold the tops down and secure with masking or washi tape. I also really love this sustainable, reusable bee's wrap for cheese and to cover bowls that don't have lids.
Linen Bento Bags
Linen bento bags are my most loved (and used) item. When I travel I keep one in my carry-on for snacks and if I'm running errands that won't include a lunch stop I'll pack what I need for the day in one. Surprisingly, they hold quite a bit. If I'm giving a gift of homemade bread I'll tuck it inside with a jar of jam. And I've even used them to corral toiletries and charging cables in my luggage. You can find them here, here, and a beautiful set of 3 here.
Market Basket or Jute Tote
Now that you've wrapped up a lovely picnic lunch you'll need something just as stylish to transport everything. Market baskets are perfect for this task. I have several deep Moroccan baskets and these double handled ones which I use frequently. I also really love this straw beach tote.
My favorite company for fair trade, sustainable baskets and tote bags is The Dharma Door USA. The quality of their wares is exceptional and I adore everything I have from them. The Pacific Tote is the best beach bag! It can hold all your picnic fare and can be tossed in the wash afterwards. Those who attended The Academy this year were gifted one of these. I also own several of their jute string bags which accompany me on market days. Trust me, you'll love their products.
Hope you're able to enjoy a picnic or two this season! If you need someone to tag along, just say the word.
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” - Henry James