The Weekend Series: five ways to pimp out your picnic
Folks, the warmer months are well and truly upon us and the days are getting gloriously long – it’s picnic season, y’all! Our enviable climate and abundance of stunning natural spots make our state perfect for outdoor soirees, so why not make your next get-together one that your friends will rave about? If you’re keen to move beyond the realm of barbecue chooks, coleslaw and a few paper plates (no shade, these things are still fabulous), we’ve put together some nifty tricks to take your picnic game to the next level.
Catering for a picnic is serious business – you’ve got to strike the right balance between deliciousness, portability and longevity. Cob loaf is an excellent crowd pleaser with loads of variations, and we’ve already done a handy round-up of interesting cobs that are guaranteed to wow your guests. Batches of pulled meats like pork and brisket are great for groups, while things like flatbreads, mini quiches and skewers are also ideal to share. If you don’t feel like getting clever in the kitchen, the old no-cook deli spread always works a treat – hit up your local and grab some good bread, cured meats, cheeses (obviously), dips and olives.
Image: Jamie Oliver
One of the best things about picnics is that being outdoors gives you so much room for activities. Classic lawn games like Finska, Bocce and Crossbones are a great addition to any picnic – they are all simple to play, compact to carry and will encourage a bit of healthy competition amongst your mates. If you want to invest in something that will seriously impress, go all out and purchase a giant Jenga (or bootleg equivalent) set. Picnics are also a great chance to get in touch with your inner kid – why not throw it back to your primary school days and indulge in some kick the can, capture the flag or red rover?
It may not be the most fun part of the picnic, but nailing the practical bits is crucial to ensure everyone has a rad time. A decent picnic rug is a no-brainer – you can head to the usual suspects like Kmart, Big W and Target, or check out Etsy if you’re after something a little more unique. The all-important wicker basket is also a must-have, with loads of spots selling complete sets including plates, cutlery and tumblers – you can hit up the aforementioned spots or check out BCF or Wheel &Barrow for something a little more fancy. An umbrella is also a smart addition to shelter yourself from the harsh UV rays – as is to be expected, the legends at Ikea have a huge range of chic and affordable options depending on what you’re after.
Sips and sups
The drinks at a picnic are of utmost important – after all, staying cool should be a top priority. You can’t go wrong with batch cocktails for a good summer vibe, so try your hand at some of the recipes we tracked down here – from rosé sangria to fizzy grapefruit pisco punch, there’s something here for every palate. If you want to get really fancy, decant your cocktail mix into one of these glass drink dispensers to keep things cute, clean and convenient. If you’re in it for the long haul, mid-strengths and session ales are a beer drinker’s best bet – Balter Brewing’s Captain Sensible and Young Henrys Stayer are both great choices. There’s nothing worse than kicking over your cup or stubby, so pick up one of these little folding tables that have spaces designed to keep your gear secure.
Image: Bon Appetit
When it comes to picnic accessories, there are a few things you shouldn’t skimp out on. A portable speaker is a must – Ultimate Ears do a great range of compact wireless options that don’t compromise on sound quality. To add a splash of cute colour, you can basically go nuts on the Sunnylife website – from drink dispensers to folding chairs and even picnic blankets, this brand deals exclusively in bright, bold and fun outdoor gear. It might also sound obvious, but don’t forget a bottle opener if you’re planning on sinking frothies or a bottle stopper for any bubbly beverages.