Romantic, with the family, at night, on the grass or among the vineyards… picnics are a must for socialising, ideal for a day out!
The picnic tradition goes back a long way.
The word derives from the French "pique-nique", meaning taking or pinching something minor, but it was in the UK that the picnic first became popular, partly thanks to the "Picnic Society", founded in 1850.
In 18th-century Europe it was already very fashionable, especially among the noble classes, for which long tables were laid outdoors. It has never fallen out of favour since then, as we can tell from the massive picnic (with 2000 guests!) laid on by queen Elizabeth in 2016 to celebrate 70 years on the throne.
In the 19th century, the trend spread to the middle classes. Meals were cheerfully consumed on the lawn, or on the riverbank, as we can see from paintings of the age, from the world-famous “Le déjeuner sur l'herbe” by Édouard Manet (1863) and Claude Monet (1866) to “Luxe, calme et volupté“ by Henri Matisse (1904.
Today the picnic has its own special international day (a whole week, in fact, in the UK, from 16 to 25 June), and for some, it’s become an art, an opportunity to show off their creativity, with fabulous picnic baskets of all types and styles. Quick main courses, cold dishes, salads, traditional fare or street food classics…everyone brings something along, so all you have to do is choose your destination and set off!
Must-haves, in addition to the essentials!
- Wax-coated sheet to spread blankets and a tablecloth on
- Large, roomy container for all the cutlery and dishes
- Small portable fridge or cool box for drinks, fruit, cheese and ic
- Bottle opener and a flask of tea or coffee
- Incense or spray to keep insects away
- Bags to collect rubbish
To surprise your fellow picnic guests, you might like to try our quick, tasty recipes:
- Courgettes filled with cheese flavoured with tomato, thyme and poppy seeds, both delicious and appealing to look at!
- Creamy spelt risotto with yellowfin tuna and fried sage sauce: different textures and flavours, guaranteed to be a success!