Picnic weather is here. The skies are beautiful and sunny, and the fresh air is filled with the sound of tweeting birds, calling us outdoors. What better time to pack a picnic basket and go for an al fresco meal with your family?
The first step in planning the perfect picnic is selecting a spot. Fayette County is filled with gorgeous outdoor spots, including Lake Horton in south Fayette County, historic Starr’s Mill on Hwy. 85, and Picnic Park behind the City Hall/Library complex in Peachtree City. Or maybe you enjoy picnicking while listening to your favorite musical group at The Fred? Our family’s favorite picnic spot is along Flat Creek Nature Area on Hwy. 54 along the Fayette/Coweta line. You can even host your picnic in your own backyard.
Now for the food – it’s up to you what to serve, but I recommend a selection of cold foods, including sandwiches and summer salads. I asked Chef Brian Boldt, of the Kedron Kroger, to prepare an upscale picnic basket á la Fayette Woman style.
Chef Boldt’s brilliant idea? “His & Her” sandwiches. The “Her” sandwich was made using Kroger’s Private Selection rotisserie chicken and Camembert cheese, organic red leaf lettuce, Kumato tomatoes, and orange fig spread. The “His” sandwich begins with Private Selection Angus roast beef, complemented with caramelized onions, baby arugula, organic vine-ripe tomatoes, and roasted garlic aioli.
The basket was rounded out by a platter filled with goat cheese, dried fruits, Manchego cheese, and a Merlot-washed cheese. Chef also added assorted Mediterranean olive bar items, including long stem artichoke hearts and peppers stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella.
And of course, dessert: Chef Boldt ‘s choice was cannoli, prepared fresh in the Kroger bakery.
Scott Ross, certified sommelier and Wine Specialist at the Kedron Kroger, selected some wines to go with the basket. La Vielle Ferme Rose and Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc were selected because of their crisp and refreshing taste. Ross says both also have a nice acidity that will cut some of the oiliness of the salads. He recommends serving them slightly chilled. Both have screw caps for easy opening. (If you think a good wine must have a cork, think again. According to Ross, there is currently a shortage of quality cork. Inferior corks can harbor bacteria that spoils wine. Ross recommends holding a napkin over the cap to retain some of the romance of the cork.)
If you plan to bring alcohol, think about where you are going. Most public picnic areas do not allow alcohol, so check before you go. Don’t forget lemonade – a picnic staple that will please both children and adults. Iced tea is also a southern favorite!
So you’ve got the picnic spot selected and the food prepared. Next you’ll need to think about what you plan to sit on. What you choose to bring will probably depend on the circumstances. If you will be utilizing picnic tables, then all you will need is a table cloth. However, if you’re like me and plan on sitting on the rocks along Line Creek, you will need a blanket or ground cover of some type that has a waterproof bottom. I own such a blanket that folds up and has a handle for easy carrying. Some people might prefer folding chairs, especially if they have a hard time getting up and down. Think about the comfort of your guests.
Other items you may wish to bring on your picnic include an MP3 player with portable speakers, a kite, bubbles, games, citronella candles, plates, bowls and flatware (fancy or disposable – your choice!), and books and magazines (how about a book of poetry to read aloud?).
And last, but not least, don’t forget hats and sunscreen.