After reading about Wendy Weston’s growing “European Style” picnic business, I decided I had had enough with my own soggy sandwiches, mushy potato salad, and warm drinks. I gave Weston a call to find out her secrets so I could bring a little Rome to my next rendez-vous. She shared:
1. Leave the real plates and silverware at home to cut down on bulk, but use recycled stuff so you ease up on the guilt.
2. Don’t freeze your water bottles! “Place refrigerated water bottles on the bottom of your pack, with a reusable ice pack next, and then a lunch sack with the food on top,” explains Weston. “This keeps the water cool and makes food stay crisp. Place the ice packs in a Ziploc to avoid any damp residue on your food.”
3. For the food: Pack a fresh baguette separately from the cold cuts and cheeses. Once you’ve set up a shady spot, layer up your sandwich. That’s the Euro way, where everyone creates custom eats (and also makes right-sized portions). On the side, Weston suggests pickled vegetables or grain-based salads, like couscous or quinoa. For dessert, how about a handful of caramels? Gourmet ones feel special, like dark chocolate with sea salt, and they are less likely to melt. Or go for brownies: They pack and transport well.
4. Spend time on the blanket reconnecting with others, and disconnecting from technology.