Always choose fresh produce that is locally sourced. Picture: Pixabay

Stylish picnics are all the rage, catapulting the humble packed lunch with a bit of glam into the winter sun. Just think fab! Marchelle Abrahams shows you how.

South Africa's balmy weather sets the tone for almost 360 days of sunshine a year. And what better way to make the most of the fresh air and natural vitamin D than a picnic?

Gone are the days when a packed lunch and a blanket would do. That simply won't do. Oh no, darling - these days we're all about luxury linen, fabulous crockery and gourmet food. If you're going to go big, a chicnic is most definitely the way to go.

Don't know where to start? Don't worry - we've got you covered on all the basics you'll need to host a first-class picnic.

Set the scene

Scenery is everything. Think of it as a backdrop to a romantic movie, only more dramatic. If the weather permits, an outdoor venue beside a river and giant trees creates an enchanting forest ambiance. Your own garden could even be used as a venue. If you’re planning your picnic for early evening, make it an unforgettable experience by draping your trees and plants in fairy lights.

Skinny laMinx Table Runner - Airborne in Sage: R595. skinnylaminx.com

Grab the basics

So what sets a chicnic apart from a picnic? It comes down to the basics. Set up a table with chairs for your guests under the shade of the tree and dress with your finest tableware. Bespoke decor studio Skinny laMinx has a variety of gorgeous table runners. Priced from R595, the one-of-a-kind prints add a pop to your chicnic table. They also have napkins in matching prints, but that’s just boring! Instead, mix things up by placing mismatched napkins (R230 for a pair) with your table setting. You still want to retain the authenticity of a proper picnic so the next obvious choice would be a picnic basket and blanket.

Love Milo cork place mats: R320

Big on style

Presentation is everything. For convenience, serve food on wooden boards. Love Milo has cork place mats (R320) that can double as serving boards. All its wooden products are made from alien trees and are hand carved, including its wooden serving spoons (R60). Hertex expanded its homeware range to include the brand HAUS. 

Their new range of stainless steel flatware (16 piece for R1 600) is available in several finishes. No table setting is complete without serving and salad bowls. Hertex’s new collection, Sand to Sea, includes serving and salad bowls, serving spoons and trays made from mango tree wood and enamel (priced from R275 to R990). @Home’s Rosegold Dipped Glassware R65 to R79) will add a touch of sophistication to your glam day out.

Large Bowl Las Palmas: R990, www.hertex.co.za

Food for the mood

IIan Laubcher, head chef at Allée Bleue estate in the Cape Winelands, knows his stuff when it comes to packing a gourmet picnic. Here are his suggestions. Always choose fresh, local produce. Opt for preserves such as basil pesto and olive tapenade. Choose foods that are easy to eat, such as gourmet cheeses and cold meats. Fresh baguettes and ciabatta complement them perfectly. 

The latest trend is jam jar salads. Layer a mixture of veggies such as roasted butternut, watercress, beetroot and barley till you reach the top. Pack artisanal pastries from a bakery.

Tip

Half fill mason jars with smashed fresh fruit, and add crushed ice – a refreshing fruit punch, perfect for those warm days in the winter sun.