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5 picnic food ideas from around the world

Posted on September 19, 2019

Set Your Summer Table Outdoors

June 18th is International Picnic Day, and with the summer solstice just days away, it’s the perfect time to dine outdoors in the beautiful warm weather. Going on a picnic is a fun, family friendly, and cost-effective way to enjoy the summer. It’s easy to find a public park where you can take over a table, or a scenic view where you can spread out a blanket—the word picnic originated centuries ago in the French phrase “pique une niche,” meaning “pick a place.” And though there is a little more preparation involved than the name implies, these picnic recipes from around the world are a great way to get you started.

1. Antipasto Platter (Italy)

This buffet of finger foods has a rustic charm that evokes the Italian countryside. Prepare your platter with cheeses (Pecorino, mozzarella), cured meats (prosciutto, salami, mortadella), and olives. Contrast with the brightness of chopped veggies and fresh fruit, and don’t forget slices or rolls of Italian bread or focaccia.

2. Scotch Eggs (England)

A hard-boiled egg is a fun and portable picnic snack, but there’s plenty of room to spice it up! Made with sausage and breadcrumbs, Scotch eggs are common picnic food in the United Kingdom. Check out this recipe from Jamie Oliver.

3. Summer Rolls (Vietnam)

Also known as cold rolls or Vietnamese spring rolls, this popular appetizer is like a portable salad. They’re wrapped and served at room temperature, unlike the fried spring rolls you may be more familiar with, and offer a light, fresh addition to your picnic side dishes. Learn how to make them with recipe at Downshiftology.

4. Pan Bagnat (France)

When you’re talking sandwiches for a picnic, time is a limiting factor—if you take too long from prepping to serving, lettuce starts to wilt and bread starts to get soggy, resulting in an unsatisfactory meal. Not so for the pan bagnat (seen on this NYT Cooking recipe). Letting these flavors mingle for a few hours will make this French sandwich a sophisticated experience.

5. Empanadas (Spain)

These Spanish turnovers travel well and can be eaten by hand, making them a good food for picnics. Try out a couple of different fillings from this The Spruce Eats recipe, or customize it to suit your taste.

Is your stomach rumbling yet? Before you start loading up the picnic basket, make sure you have the dinnerware you need to enjoy your meal. The Zak Designs outdoor dining collection is a reusable alternative for paper plates—they’re durable and easy to clean, and you don’t have to worry about flimsy dishes blowing away in the wind. Don’t forget to check out our Confetti line for an extra cheerful addition to your summer dining experience.

And finally, if you’re planning on going to the waterfront, you might want to check out our Beach Day Picnic Ideas article for a few extra tips on what to bring to your picnic.

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