As much as I love falling leaves, fireplaces, and pumpkins, I’m not ready to say good-bye to summer just yet! I have had so many picnics at Blossom Music Center and in our beloved Cuyahoga Valley this year, that I just want to linger over a few more and pretend I’m in the south of France. Let’s create a French Country Picnic! It will be perfect for those last days of summer when the air turns just cool enough to throw on a cozy sweater, but where we can still sit outside at a table set just for us.
To keep things simple and fresh, I think a nice charcuterie platter will do. Charcuterie really refers to cold, cooked meats, but those are often accompanied by other small edibles like cheese, crackers, nuts, etc to create a nibbling feast fit for Marie Antoinette or Napoleon Bonaparte… or just me and you. 😉
To make my favorite charcuterie platter, I do like to bring in a few foods from around the Mediterranean and Europe, not just France. For example, I really like Italian sopressata and castelvetrano olives from the Amalfi coast.
Cheeses might include a smoked gouda from Holland or an herbed goat cheese from local farmers. I definitely like to add a few nuts and dried fruits in my picnic, and I prefer Marcona almonds from Spain to provide that crunch. I also might choose gourmet crackers over a baguette (so very French).
But I’m calling it a French Country Picnic if I include: Brie cheese, Cornichons pickles, and Rosé wine – my non-negotiables, I suppose. 🙂
I think a few accoutrements are also in order. I think some fresh flowers (maybe my blooming hydrangeas) will brighten up our space and a colorful tablecloth or blanket if you prefer to spread out your picnic on the lawn. Some fluffy pillows to soften the picnic table benches will be welcomed. And we’ll pack what we can in our cute French market basket.
Now to find the perfect spot! Whether you live in the city or the country, there will always be a cozy picnic place just for you, it may even be your own backyard – go explore! This picnic will be at a park, so the perfect French playlist is a Madeleine Peyroux mix on Pandora. She is one of my favorite French singers, and her music adds just the right background to a lazy afternoon or evening with some friends. If it will be twilight or dark, bring some candles to enhance the experience.
And now, sit back, relax, and enjoy those last few lazy days of summer with good food, good drink, and good company. Bon appetit et avoir une belle fête!
Crackers or a Baguette
Tablecloth or Blanket