You may not be able to sit in the grass in the Champs De Mars near the Eiffel Tower to enjoy your lunch, but that shouldn’t stop you from packing up some delicious French-style foods and picnicking near your favourite lake or in the park. The key is to choose a shady spot, put together a simple meal, and relax in the outdoors like you’re on holiday.
First: The Foods
Traditional French picnic foods include cheeses (we love brie, chèvre, blue, and camembert), crusty bread, crackers, selection of fruits, vegetables, cornichons, some type of sauce for dipping, butter, and sandwich meats. You can also include a cold salad to round out the meal. Our Parisian-picnic-inspired sandwiches are super simple, yet amazingly delicious: ham and cheese or radishes and butter on a fresh baguette. You can dress each of them up with the addition of Dijon mustard, crudité, or even fruit.
We’re also including our recipe for Farro Salad with Peas, Shallots, and Feta. This light grain salad is perfect for picnics. The combination of tender peas, creamy feta, and chewy farro are an excellent accompaniment to the sandwiches.
Something lightly sweet that doesn’t get melty from the heat and isn’t too sugary, palmiers are the perfect treat for your French picnic. These have a lightly herbal, citrusy kick with the addition of cardamom, so they stand up well to wine, fruit and cheese. Plus, they’re light and crispy and won’t weigh you down.
Other Must-Have Picnic Items
For a proper French picnic, you must sit on the ground with a blanket or tablecloth spread out on which to enjoy your meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy—a linen tablecloth or cotton throw will do. Packing your meal into a cute basket or tote also makes the trip more fun, but don’t forget a few plates and napkins. Don’t forget a refreshing drink and a couple of simple glasses or cups to drink it from.
Even though you’re planning on sitting in the shade, bring along sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. But mostly, French picnics are truly about human connection and conversation. So, turn off your phone or leave it at home so you can genuinely relax and share some intimate conversation.