The long summer days make all of us want to take advantage of the sun as much as possible. Outdoor picnics, whether in a city park, at a beach, or near the foot of a rolling hill, are the perfect solution to getting together with family and friends . . . all while respecting social distancing rules! To help make your summer picnics even more festive and fun, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks. Read on!
The key to success is a little prep!
A picnic’s success depends, of course, on the quality and variety of food you pack. But just a few simple accessories can really elevate the occasion. Remember to pack a blanket large enough to accommodate your gang and respect current social distancing measures. Keep your food fresh by filling your cooler with ample ice packs. Make sure you have enough dishes and cutlery for everyone. Bring loads of water so that everyone stays hydrated, and don’t forget the parasol and sunscreen! Your best bet is to make a list of all the essentials, that way you won’t forget a thing.
Packing the perfect picnic basket
- If you’re pressed for time . . .
Pressed for time, or simply not in the mood to spend all day preparing a spread to satisfy everyone’s tastes? The C’est prêt collection offers a variety of individually packaged wraps. Always fresh and made with the utmost care, you have a wide variety to choose from. Vegetarians will love the tofu option made with a tomato and basil tortilla, and the classic cream cheese and smoked salmon version is always a winner. If you’re in the mood for chicken, there are several varieties to choose from, including one made with cranberries, a creamy mayo dressing, and crisp lettuce leaves. There’s even something for smoked meat and ham lovers!
For a sweet finale, opt for a C’est prêt snack featuring chocolate-covered almonds, peanuts, and pecans.
- Switch up your sandwiches
Elevating your sandwich game is a lot easier than you think. Start by trying something new when it comes to your bread. The Au Pain Doré bakery makes multi-grain square buns, as well as rectangular or mini ciabattas. Brioche buns are also a delicious option.
Chef secret: for a bit of crunch, add some finely chopped vegetables to your sandwich. To help get you started, IGA suggests four delicious recipes that are sure to inspire you all summer long!
Master the art of family picnics by serving original and tasty sandwiches!
A little pesto goes a long way!
Don’t forget: the secret’s in the sauce! Kicking your mayo up a notch is easy—simply combine regular mayo with a spoonful of basil pesto and your smoked turkey on brioche bun sandwich will automatically be in a league of its own!
For an Italian touch, opt for a ciabatta bun, top it with a mixture of mayonnaise and sundried tomato pesto, add a few slices of provolone cheese and deli meat, and buon appetito!
Roasted meat is a must!
Roast beef makes for a great sandwich. Serve it in a brioche bun with some aged cheddar and sunflower sprouts!
As for roast pork, it pairs perfectly with Swiss cheese, red cabbage, and BBQ sauce!
- Star side: the salad
Summer’s bounty is brimming with flavour! A garden-themed family picnic is an idea that’s both colourful and delicious. When shopping for your fresh produce, let your imagination run wild! If you’re feeling inspired by the colour green, stock up on romaine lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, and bok choy. Classics like tomatoes, basil, bocconcini, and olive oil, or Greek salad with lots of feta never go out of style. Broccoli and bacon form a mouth-watering duo, and this potato and dill salad is delish! For a fresh summer salad, try this recipe featuring strawberries, mint, quinoa, and avocados, created by Trois fois par jour’s Marilou. Discover how to make it, step by step, in this video.
- Jet-set happy hour featuring Quebec products
Pork Shop charcuteries have mastered the art of sausages and rillettes to a T. The Quebec-based company makes all its unique products according to traditional and authentic processes. Their ground meat contains no added fat—try the Kolbasa, a Polish-style sausage made with Quebec pork loin, garlic, and spices.
Quebec cheeses have an unshakeable reputation. Some classics include the Pied-de-Vent from Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Comtomme, an organic cheese made in the Eastern Townships, and the Noble from Lanaudière. Alexis de Saint-Raymond-de-Portneuf products are also picnic-worthy and delicious!
- Healthy snacks for all
Picnics are all about long hours spent lounging around and talking, so it’s no wonder they make us want to snack! The whole family will love crudités and fresh fruit served with store-bought or homemade dips and tofu spreads. You can also pack a selection of protein bars, homemade muffins, or bread . . . the perfect snacks to satisfy even the most active family members.
Spending time outdoors is the perfect occasion to rediscover simple games to entertain the kids.
An energizing hike
Nature deserves to be explored, so why not plan a picnic next to a hiking trail? You can divide the food and ice packs amongst your hikers and walk to your picnic location. Most hiking trails lead to breath-taking summits that fill you with a sense of pride. Stay motivated on your way up by varying your walking style: zigzag, walk backwards, hop, skip, or run! And if the whole family is properly equipped, why not bike your way to your picnic!
Pack accessories that are light and entertaining
An Aki or a Frisbee weighs practically nothing, and both are loads of fun! You could also pack a ball, perfect for a quick game of soccer or dodgeball. A baseball mitt and ball, or badminton racket and birdie, can keep your kids occupied for hours. Forgot to pack games? No problem! A good old game of tag is always fun! Or explore your surroundings with a game of hide-and-seek, or obstacle courses.
Geocaching: search for hidden treasures
If you have a smartphone, download the Geocaching app. Then start looking for your very own geocache. These little containers are carefully hidden by others according to precise geographic coordinates. There are over 44,000 in Quebec alone! You’re sure to uncover a few during your picnic adventure!
Encourage your kids to explore the beauty of nature; insects, smalls mammals . . . there are plenty of things to see and learn! Use binoculars to observe birds and reproduce their calls, or photograph and identify plants with apps like Seek.
Discover more ideas, here: https://www.defisante.ca/
For thousands of years, people have bonded over a good meal . . . and picnics are no exception! So pack a plentiful spread and get ready to spend some quality time with the people you love. You’ll see: there’s no need to go far to get together.