Food: the cornerstone of the picnic

Fresh air, nature, good company and great food. With the Easter Weekend and delightful abundance of public holidays on their way, it’s the perfect time to create new memories and get your picnic game on.

Alistair Wood, Marketing Director at Mediterranean Delicacies and foodie fanatic, gives us the low down on 6 quick, easy and delicious ideas for the ideal picnic:

1. Location

No matter where you are in South Africa, you are usually within an hour’s drive of a hidden gem that makes for an ideal picnic spot.  Although this is just the tip of the iceberg here are a few faves: 

Cape Town:  Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens; Oudekraal; Newlands Forest

Johannesburg:  Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens; Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam; Modderfontein Nature Reserve; Toadbury Hall

Durban:  Kloof Falls Picnic Site; Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary; Jameson Park

2. Checklist Essentials

Depending on your picnic spot, these checklist items will come in handy:

·         Starting with the obvious. . .remember the picnic basket

·         In case you can’t get a lekker shady spot, take a gazebo or umbrella with you

·         On the other hand, a soft fluffy blanket is what makes a picnic. . .

·         Take good care of yourself and your loved ones with bug repellent, sunscreen and hats

·         Consider others and your surroundings by cleaning up before you leave. A large refuse bag generally does the trick

·         Pack in wet wipes and serviettes or roller towel

3.      Pack with Pizazz

Make sure you’re good to go with these quick checks:

·      Make sure all food containers are properly sealed

·      When packing the basket, be sure to build a firm foundation with solids such as cooldrinks below and softer items on top

·      Remember the bottle opener

·      Go green with lightweight reusable utensils, plates and drinkware

4. Food: the cornerstone of the picnic

Get the ball rolling with dips, a healthy and delicious way to set the tone of the picnic with everyone tucking into their favourite taste. Use pita bread or crudités such as celery, carrots, broccoli, cucumber and cauliflower to accompany the wide variety of dips from the essential Mediterranean Delicacies Humus to other well-loved favourites like tzatziki, taramasalata, feta and herb dip or olive tapenade. 

Delicious as an aperitif or as an in-between-snack, these flavoursome offerings bring a practical advantage of being pre-packed in their own container, simplifying your prep even further.

Pita breads are great alternatives to sandwiches, they can be prepped beforehand and generally don’t go soggy from the ingredients which means that everyone can dig in as soon as you set up your picnic. Chicken wings, drumsticks, nuggets or even boerie rolls (pre-cooked or braaied there) are great finger foods.

5. Thirst-quenchers

Place small bottles of water or juice in the freezer for a few hours before leaving.  These can double as ice packs to keep your food fresh, while providing a slush-like option to cool you down and keep your thirst at bay.

If you are looking to take wine, make sure you have sufficient ice if you’re going for white rosé.  If your preferences lean towards reds when it comes to outdoor eating, then aim to keep the bottle in the shade so that it doesn’t become too warm.

Note: Many picnic spots do not allow alcohol, so check with your chosen location beforehand.

6. Sweet treats

End your meal with a flourish! Whip out some #MediDeli halva, made in a variety of delicate yet slightly crunchy flavours including pistachio, cocoa, almond and vanilla. Add watermelon or other seasonal favourites for a refreshing finish. For this special occasion add some koeksisters, or even an assortment of chocolates.

The upcoming public holidays are a perfect time to get the whole family outdoors and active.  Best of all you’ll get to explore the hidden gems in your urban jungle while spending quality time with friends and loved ones, making lasting memories with great food.