Picnics in Paradise: Packing a Beach Picnic Basket
Have you ever said to yourself that food actually tastes better when eating your meal in the great outdoors? You are not alone and that is why picnics are a popular dining choice to celebrate time together with friends, family and loved ones. Picnics are traditionally welcomed from Memorial Day through Labor Day all around the country. Hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and new England clambakes are all part of traditional Americana picnic food but there are some great al fresco dining alternatives out there that offer simpler choices with big tastes and little prep time.
For the fortunate who vacation or live in warmer climates as I do in Southwest Florida, the time to enjoy a beach picnic lasts throughout the year. Good food, surrounding nature and beautiful beaches serve as a perfect backdrop of wonderful memories spent picnicking on Sanibel Island if the right food is packed cold, well insulated and includes set ups that make dining easy to chow down, especially where sand pails and seashells are all around you. Here are some tips to help you pack a beach picnic:
Tips for Packing a Beach Picnic Basket:
- Finger foods and artisan sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and covered in cello bags where little use of utensils is required will make the dining experience more enjoyable and convenient.
Enjoy your beach picnic without the hassle of preparing the meal by ordering grab and go cuisine from your favorite market in advance.
- Choose food that tastes great cold and does not require the use of gas grills such as:
- Interesting sandwiches prepared on freshly baked Artisan breads seasoned with chutneys, pesto or aioli
- Tomato or Spinach Wraps rolled into cone shapes and inserted into paper cones like snow cone cups making it easier to eat while holding the cone cup.
- Spreads and Dips with a fresh Baguette, Foccacia or Crostini
- Dry cured meats like Salami or Prosciutto with a fresh loaf of Italian bread
- Seasonal fruit salad platters with spears or toothpicks for easy eating
- Cold Pasta Salad with grilled Italian vegetables marinated in balsamic dressing
- Take along a cooler and keep your drinks chilled. Make sure the beverage selection includes bottles of cold water. Hydration is important under the hot sun and refreshing H2O quenchers come in all sizes and flavors to quench your thirst. Try to stick with plastic bottles such as Perrier spring water or recyclable cans of lemon, lime and blood orange flavored San Pellegrino both of which are good for the environment and good for you.
- There’s always room for sweets. Choose wisely if you are planning a day in the hot sun. espresso cookie brittles or bite sized dolce are a good choice. We created croissant donut holes called Crodoles© when we opened Geppetto’s Beach Foodies in 2012, offering grab and go beach cuisine. Crodoles© come in a variety of flavors from Mango Coconut to Key Lime, Cookie Butter, Canoli and more.
- Last, always pack 2 trash bags for easy clean-up at the end of the day.
Pictured Left: Key Lime Coconut Crodoles©, Right: Variety Bags of Crodoles©