Get inspiration for eating alfresco with our suggestions for local posh picnic-worthy food and drink, plus events coming up
I’m such a picnic fan, I even had one for my wedding party. You could pre-prepare frittatas in your kitchen for 40+ people on the hottest day of the year… (oh how we laughed) or, more sensibly, bag some of these top notch local nibbles and drinks – perfect whether you’re planning a park get together or going the full Glyndebourne.
Scroll down too for some picnic-related events coming up.
FOOD & DRINK
Go all out with a gorgeous hamper from the order and collect options from Pallant of Arundel.
The Arundel Picnic (£110 for two people, £160 for four) contains local cheeses, individual quiches, olives, chuntey, salami, pate, sparkling wine and more presented in a traditional wicker hamper. While The Sussex Picnic (£65 for two, £100 for four), presented in a jute bag features wine, cheeses, pate, hummus, a seasonal salad and more. If you want to get a wicker hamper of goodies delivered to yourself or someone else, The Best of Sussex comes without perishable ingredients and is available by mail order, featuring wine, beer, chocolates and groceries.
Or, drop in and put your own picnic together from the wonderful selection of cheeses, charcuterie, preserves and more on offer.
Smoked fish and meat
For superior smoked salmon it has to be Springs’ Smokery tucked away under the South Downs at Edburton near Fulking and Henfield. It a far more subtle flavour than the kind you’ll get in the supermarket (we enjoyed it at the Muddy Awards winner’s drinks) and has been sourced from reputable suppliers, dry salted and smoked over oak in the traditional way without additives and preservatives.
The company has been around since 1964 so they have a great heritage and supply some top hotels. You can also picked up smoked mackerel, chicken or duck and cheeses and pates at the Smokery shop, or online. You can even take a smokery tour on Tues, Weds or Thurs.
Sussex Gourmand supplied the fabulous canapes for the Muddy Awards winners’ drinks this year. You can make your picnic really classy with its beef and venison bresaola. This thin cured meat is made in the traditional Italian style but using local meat and the know-how of catering expert Liz Wakefield.
Buy online or catch Liz at various famers’ markets and food shows. You can even order yourself or gift someone a forest and field gift box with bresaola and accompaniments to serve it canape-style (£35.55) or versions with cheeses and Springs’ smoked salmon or local fizz.
New hybird beer
Fancy something light for an afternoon alfresco? New Binary Botanical is a beer, but it’s been brewed with organic hop leaves to taste tangy rather than bitter – so you can drink it like a wine – with the bonus of half the calories and half the alcohol. It’s produced in Surrey but also available in Sussex and online.
A rosé is a summery choice for a picnic and is among cuveé choices from Bluebell Vineyard (onsite or online), sparkling wines from Rathfinny, and still and sparkling from Bolney Wine Estate (including a special edition produced with Kew Gardens) among other Sussex vineyards.
Surrealists’ Picnic, Farleys House Farm, Chiddingly, Sun 25 Aug
Here’s something weird and wonderful. The third annual Surrealist Picnic is being held at the former home of Vogue fashion and war photographer, model, cook and surrealist Lee Miller. There will be jazz bands and surreal performance and dressing up is encouraged. You’ll also have the chance to create suitably surreal food. Light up cockroaches in blue jelly was a past dish, so get creative! The event runs 4 – 8pm and tickets are £15.
Borde Hill’s Musical Picnics, Sun 25 Aug and Sun 1 Sept
Bring a picnic and relax with the family in a beautiful garden setting, whilst serenaded by a different musical act each Sunday. Free with admission. The next up are the Three Penny Piece vocal trio on 25 Aug who revive old-time jazz and swing hits from the 1930s, 40s & 50s and rock and blues classics from Willie Austen and Paul Stenton on 1 Sept as part of the Harley-Davidson Bikes and Brews event between noon and 15.00.
Make a Jane Austin Picnic, Regency Town House, Hove, Thurs 12 Sept
Heritage cookery expert Paul Couchman leads a workshop at the Regency Townhouse inspired by the picnic in Jane Austin’s Emma with pies and syllabub on the menu. It runs 10.00 – 13.30 and costs £31 (if you book by 2 Sept) or £37. You get to eat what you make on the Brunswick Square lawns (or inside the townhouse of it rains).