For many of us, summer means hanging out, having a braai and ice-cold beverages, but for others, it means enjoying the warm weather by the beach or at the park.
One thing I have noticed about people who do beach and park picnics is the delicious food they include in their plans.
With picnics, you do not have to worry about a lot of things, like which butchery you will be getting the meat from, as they are all about simple, yet delicious dishes.
You just have to be smart with your packing so that it is easy to lug everything around.
Picnics are the perfect way to take a break from it all and enjoy the last of that summer sunshine.
So whether you will be buying your picnic food from the store or bringing your own home-made treats to make it extra special, here are a few ideas to make it worthwhile.
We spoke to Chef Bontle Molefe about the food to have in your picnic basket.
“The aim is to have quick, easy, accessible food options that will not go soggy and heavy in the summer heat. My personal favourite food must-haves for summer are fruit, cheese, pies and pasties, and of course, desserts,” she said.
Bright coloured, sweet and seasonally friendly, tropical fruit make the perfect refreshing addition to the summer picnic basket.
Nothing says summer like mangoes, pineapple, kiwi fruit and watermelon. It's the perfect meal for the eye as well and the burst of colour is sure to brighten up your picnic basket.
Grapes are the perfect addition to other picnic items like the cheese board. Add some berries (tip: these can be served with sparkling wine) to the mix and you have the perfect fruit combination.
For a daytime picnic, it is always good to stick to the soft and light varieties of cheese. Some mature cheeses can be added, but the aim is to avoid anything heavy and overpowering.
French and Swiss cheeses are usually the best for this. Some good options are elderflower (French), which is a nice semi-soft cheese with a lightly floral flavour for that summer feel.
Chèvre is soft enough to spread on some crackers and it pairs very well with summer fruit. Cheddar is always a crowd pleaser. You can find one as mature and clumpy as suits you and it goes well with preserves like fruit chutney.
Pies and pastries
Sandwiches are not something to go for when picnicking on a warm or hot day. No one ever wants to go through all the tedious preparation of making sandwiches, only to end up with something soggy.
Some miniature pies make for the perfect bite-sized treat and you get the option of filling them with whatever you like. Little savoury parcels made from puff pastry also do the trick.
Looking for something of a doughier consistency? Mini pizzas and wraps also work for a picnic, cutting out all the effort of having to cut and slice before eating and making sure you do not end up with a soggy meal.
Again, try avoiding anything with a tendency of getting soggy, so desserts heavy on the creams and fillings are not ideal. You can never go wrong with banana bread and you can slice and pack it that way, so you do not have to do much work before eating.
Biscuits are also a good way to go as they are bite-sized and, depending on what kind you pack, they could pair well with what is on your cheese plate.