HOW TO: 9 TIPS TO CREATE THE PERFECT ROAD TRIP PICNIC
A mixed tape, good company, tattered maps, lots of snacks, a car tank full with petrol and an idyllic destination are all the ingredients needed to make an excellent road trip. But there is one key element missing… The perfect road trip picnic! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been on a road trip and come lunchtime, I’m starving and have no idea where to get a good, cheap lunch. Yes these are the times where sometimes you discover a secret café with an epic menu and amazing bakeries with the best sausage rolls – but in reality, this doesn’t happen all the time.
A road trip picnic are one of my most cherished things to do all year round. From well planned out feasts to spontaneous sandwiches on the lawn, there isn’t a road trip picnic I haven’t loved. Enjoying good company whilst sitting out in nature and tucking into delicious food is the perfect way to spend a road trip to me. So how do you pull together the perfect picnic? Below are my nine tips and secrets to ensure you plan and enjoy the most delicious picnic possible on your next road trip.
PLANNING The secret to making a good picnic an excellent picnic is planning. Think of a picnic as though your transporting your every day ‘at home’ experience to the great outdoors. Knowing when, where and how will help, and once you have a destination in mind, good company, something to sit on and your picnic basket packed, you’re set to go.
LOCATION I love nothing more than not knowing where I am going to enjoy my picnic on a road trip. Sure, I’ll have a destination in mind, such as Jervis Bay or the Blue Mountains, but I don’t know where I’ll actually enjoy my picnic. But there are a couple of factors that help me decide: weather and nature. A good picnic needs a little shade and a little sun, so anywhere close to a tree or under a make shift sailcloth on the beach is always preferable. Wind and humidity are my weather enemies, so if its windy pick a spot out of the breeze and if it’s humid, place your picnic set up in the shade. A stunning vista is paramount to a good picnic, so whether you’re heading up to the mountains or sitting in a leafy park, look for the best view and plonk yourself right there.
BLANKETS My one number rule for a picnic is lots and lots blankets. There is nothing worse than trying to cram a few people plus food and drinks onto one blanket. So more is more when it comes to blankets at picnics.
DRINKS Without a doubt you need to pack plenty of water. I also like to take homemade lemonade with freshly picked mint leaves as well as couple of bottles of wine. I would suggest taking a red and a white to sit everyone’s preferences. I’ve recently tried Stoneleigh’s Sauvignon Blanc – perfect to go with my food suggestions below. I have to admit, I have a penchant for wines from New Zealand. Their cooler climate makes the wines taste delicious. I know for a fact that Stoneleigh’s single variety vines grow on an ancient riverbed in very stony soils and that the stones at the surface absorb the suns heat during the day and releases it during the cool nights, which ripens the grapes. This actually gives the grapes naturally vibrant and crisp characteristics. So if you plan on taking some vino to your picnic, also remember to choose a designated driver before you set off on your road trip; it’s obviously very important that you get home safely!
FOOD Food - the holy grail of an epic road trip picnic! Below are some suggestions for what food to pack. I’d love to hear what else you like to take, so please feel free to comment below! And remember to keep everything chilled to avoid food borne illness; use a cooler bag and/or ice packs.
• Selection of cheeses: soft, hard, blue • Selection of cold meats: chicken, salami, prosciutto • Selection of salads: Greek salad, quinoa salad, tomato and mozzarella salad • Crunchy bread, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette • Selection of fruits: watermelon, pineapple, blueberries • Selection of sweets: biscuits, cupcakes, scones
BASKET You don’t need to use a basket for your road trip picnic; whilst they are fun and practical there are other ways to carry your food and drinks, and keep everything chilled. There are lots of carry bags to choose from, including wooden crates, plastic bags, backpacks, cooler bags, beach bags and woven baskets. The choice is yours!
UTENSILS Utensils are an absolute must but don’t worry if you forget a knife here and a fork there - it’s all part of the fun! Plastic plates and utensils are great because they’re light and easily cleaned, but taking stuff straight from the kitchen is totally acceptable. Also think about how you’ll present the food and drinks. I like to use Mason Jars, different plates and wooden chopping boards.
ENTERTAINMENT To make your road trip picnic even more perfect, and depending on the company, sometimes its nice to bring something to keep you entertained – music, magazines, books and games are all great additions to a picnic, especially if there are little kids involved. However, I prefer to enjoy nature on its own and without the hustle and bustle of adding music or magazines. The whole point of going on a road trip and enjoying a picnic in an idyllic spot is to enjoy your natural surroundings. But that’s entirely up to you! And if you’re like me, I always get food coma after a picnic so listening to music and reading is the last thing on my mind. Instead I take a little nap under the shade of a nearby tree and fall asleep to the sound of leaves rustling in the breeze above me.
REMEMBER TO PACK For the ultimate road trip picnic, remember to pack these as well: sunscreen, bottle opener, condiments such as salt and pepper and jams, insect repellent, hats, extra napkins or paper towels, hand wipes, warm clothes, extra water for washing up and garbage bags for the clean up. And always remember to leave your picnic spot in a better condition then when you arrived. No littering!
This post is in collaboration with Stoneleigh. All thoughts and tips are my own.