A Travel Picnic To Die For

January 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Features, Food

Picnics are a great way to have an authentic travel experience. It has the added benefit of saving the traveler valuable cash resources. In order to maximize the benefits of your travel picnic, we’ve created four steps to the perfect outing.

1. Location
“To leave a place is to die a little.” ~French Proverb

Select a comfortable spot that reflects the interests of the participants. It’s often best to select a place that communes with nature. Areas within reach of rivers, lakes, or parks are ideal. This approach is feasible in the urban jungle too. For instance, the banks of the Seine River (below) in Paris have popular walkways to spend an afternoon. The Great Lawn (map) of Central Park in New York City represents another great spot. The latter has Belvedere Castle within its vicinity.
travel-picnic.jpg Picnic, Seine River, Paris © Malias

2. Food Selection
“Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are” ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Picnicking is an opening to have an authentic meal. It’s easy to collect a variety of foodstuffs, from local markets, that residents eat in their daily lives. A sojourn to an Italian city or village, for example, would allow for a picnic menu that consists of fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, mortadella with breadsticks, chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto on wedges of honeydew, and a basket filled with figs and grapes. Add a glass of local wine or fresh tomato juice with lemon and black pepper.

Having trouble with coming up with ideas? A great resource for selecting new picnic foods is The Minimalist: 101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics.
picnic-foods.jpg Picnic Meal © Nanda

3. Guests
“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.” ~Rod McKuen

Consider inviting a couple of locals or fellow travelers to your gathering. There is no better way to understand a location that to spend time with those who know it best. It will also provide an opportunity to learn several new phrases in their native language. If you haven’t met any residents, contemplate arranging your get-together near a smiling group of locals. Don’t be surprised if an invitation to join them is in the offing. This is especially helpful for solo travelers.

4. Conversation Topics
“Friends are those rare people who ask how you are then wait for an answer” ~Unknown

During the meal, it’s best to keep to light topics. Allow each guest to select a topic for discussion over the course of the afternoon. This makes sure that everyone has a chance to participate in the conversation. It’s equally helpful to listen to your fellow picnickers and provide feedback to their musings.

Stomach churning? Read about the best pizza in New York City.
___________________________________________________________________________________
gennaroeditor.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.

 

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Comments

37 Responses to “A Travel Picnic To Die For”
  1. Lisa says:

    “Friends are those rare people who ask how you are then wait for an answer” Ha! Love that quote. My stomach is churning for sure. I like to picnic at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. It’s nice during the summer and spring.

  2. Ella says:

    I wish I was on the Seine right now. :Sigh:

    I’ll have to settle for a few chunks of Reggiano!

  3. oh, that would be the perfect place for a picnic!! Central Park is a nice place too, if you’re in the States.

  4. Gennaro says:

    @Lisa

    Thanks for the recommendation!

    @Tabitha

    Central Park is great especially with warm weather.

  5. Tim says:

    I like that the Parisians who stay in town for the summer have that “beach-esque” scene atmosphere along the banks. Malibu Bluff Park is a nice spot to picnic or just sit and watch the ocean waves.

  6. Ashley says:

    Prosciutto on wedges of honeydew, yum!

  7. Gennaro says:

    @Tim

    Malibu Bluff Park sounds great. Agree about the banks of the Seine during summer

    @Ashley

    And so easy to prepare…

  8. Tim says:

    @Gennaro

    It is. Definately check it out when you’re in town.

  9. Marion says:

    “Friends are those people who ask how you are then wait for an anwser”. Love this one too! I also like “To leave a place is to die a little”, even if I’m French and have never heard this proverb before. :D Very nice article Gennaro!

  10. Seth says:

    Bro, those picnic food are making me long for some Italian food!

  11. Gennaro says:

    @Marion

    Thanks!

    @Seth

    Feed the urge :)

  12. Zip says:

    I’ll take some of that tomato juice with a splash of lemon and sprinkling of black pepper

  13. Dinny says:

    “Friends are those rare people who ask how you are then wait for an answer”

    That is so true :) Too cold here for a picnic!

  14. Picking foods that are native to the area is a great way to have a picnic. Then all you need to do is find that “special” spot. Sweet!

  15. I agree totally. Any park with a bench or steps of a monumant (as long as it’s respectful) is ideal for a picnic. Especially if there’s a great view. But if not, just watching the locals go about daily life can be so very interesting.

    As for food, find a shop that’s crowded at lunch time. Any place popular with locals should be great and authentic.

  16. Gennaro says:

    @Barbara Swafford

    It definately adds to the experience :)

    @Jon

    Great points. It’s often a hole in the wall that all the locals are lined up to shop at.

  17. maiylah says:

    my family and i haven’t had a picnic in ages!
    thanks for the tips! :)

  18. Gennaro says:

    @Maiylah

    No problem :)

  19. Arn says:

    Central Park is a gem. For lots of things including picnics

  20. I think it’s cool when, in the summer, I drive through the University of Michigan campus and see a couple or group of friends sitting in a common yard surrounded by hundreds of passers-by have a picnic. They just lay out a blanket and have lunch together. It seems like they’re enjoying life no matter where they are.

  21. Gennaro says:

    @Brian D. Hawkins,

    Agreed. It’s something that can be enjoyed in any town or city. It allows friends to get together and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors. Campus are a great place for a picnic, nice pick-up.

  22. Bryan Karl says:

    Wow, never have I tried a real picnic in my life. My friends just usually hang out in fastfood chains. I guess picnic is not really our thing. But I know it would be worth trying even with family.

  23. Gennaro says:

    @Bryan Karl

    It does works well with family. Not sure your buddies will go for it, but a girlfriends might :)

  24. Trotter says:

    Hi Gennaro! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  25. I’m planning a picnic with my sweetie this weekend for V-day. Thanks for the ideas! :)

    ~ Kristi

  26. Gennaro says:

    @Kikolani

    I hope your picnic went well.

  27. tawan says:

    Thanks, that was a very interesting read.

  28. Gennaro says:

    @tawan

    No problem. Thanks for visiting.

  29. peRn says:

    Thanks for the tips, Gennaro–

    though Thailand is too hot to picnic during summer, but it’s surely a best thing to do in our mild winter. I went for picnic by the reservoir in Kao Yai National Park on December. didn’t get strangers to join us though, but got horn birds as great companies around ;)

  30. Gennaro says:

    @peRn

    Haven’t been to Kao Yai National Park, but I had a great time in Thailand. Beautiful country. Kao Yai sounds like a a great place for a picnic.

  31. Nancie says:

    One of those things that you can do almost anywhere and have a good time. I love eating at the temple stalls in Thailand. It’s very much like being on a picnic.

  32. ayngelina says:

    I love picnic food! Sadly I often only have picnics in other cities that I visit rather than my own.

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