A Perfect Day for A Picnic

Continuing the Perfect Day series from the winter months, I thought a picnic would be a great way to usher in spring and summer. In Redding we don’t really ever have to worry about bugs on picnics, but rather the temperatures can become hot very quickly into the season with average temperatures in the mid 90s. Last week, we had an unseasonably cooler day and I decided to take this opportunity for an afternoon relaxing and enjoying lunch.

Confession: I love picnics and adventures. I don’t know if it’s the romantic idea of a picnic, the idea of taking a nap with the warmth of the sun filtering through the leaves of the trees, or just the idea of overlooking some beautiful scenery while eating lunch, but you will always find a picnic blanket and basket ready to go in the trunk of my car for some spontaneous adventures.

With this picnic, I wanted to keep the menu light and simple, but filling enough for a lunch. As I packed my picnic, I realized all the items weren’t going to fit in my basket. I pulled my Clyde Oak Farmer’s Market tote, to carry those heavier items, and to pack everything I needed. For those of you who live locally, I chose a spot along Hilltop Drive under the shade of a tree, with parking close by. Overlooking the Sacramento River, the mountains, and Redding, made for a great spot.  I try to use glass containers when packing a picnic. While they make your basket a bit heavier, I find that they keep picnics classy, elegant, and are environmental-friendly, as they can be washed and reused. I typically use old wine bottles as containers for filtered drinking water and use mason jars to carry the main items like layered jar salads, fruit, and nuts.

Picnic basket packing list:

  • Small wooden cutting board
  • Wedge of brie cheese
  • Cheese knife, forks for salad
  • Bottle opener
  • Bottle of wine (I chose a light Sophia rose from the Francis Coppola family of wines.)
  • 2 wine glasses
  • Berry basket with farmers market strawberries and raspberries
  • mason jar salads (click here for the recipe)
  • French baguette wrapped in a fresh tea towel or linen napkin
  • Decanter of water
  • Bar of fair trade, organic chocolate (I chose a bar of Dandelion chocolate from the Mission district in San Francisco)

As the afternoon went on, I found myself relaxing, enjoying the crisp flavors of fresh food, the sunshine, and dozing off a bit. It was the perfect end to a week full of many office hours, emails, and task lists.

What are some of your favorite items to pack on a picnic? Anyone in Redding have some favorite picnic spots?

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