Califonia Bountiful

What’s in your picnic basket?

May/June 2010 California Country magazine

Picnic faves from the California Country team.

The summer scenery unfolds around us. Warmer weather has brought on vibrant colors, sun-drenched skies and plenty of activity on farms and ranches throughout California's countryside. It's show time here in the Golden State—the perfect time for a picnic.

But before you head out the door, we'd like to know: What's in your picnic basket? Please share your favorites by posting your comments here or on our Facebook site.

We took a totally unscientific survey the other day and found that most of us on the California Country team pack our baskets with traditional picnic fare. If it's not salami and assorted cheeses paired with a baguette and a bottle of wine, it's likely to be barbecued or fried chicken, deviled eggs, potato or macaroni salad (or both!) and assorted veggies.

Everybody also adds fresh fruit to their basket (grapes are a favorite). And it's clear that olives are practically mandatory. Beverages range from fresh-squeezed lemonade and homemade sun tea to chilled California chardonnay.

Here are few picnic faves from the California Country team:

  • The perfect picnic: Bicycle to the Cheese Factory in Petaluma (assuming you're in the neighborhood!), buy a wheel of Rouge et Noir Brie, pull out fresh baguettes (cut slices with a Swiss Army knife), toss a green salad with special olives and interesting dressing, add Thompson seedless grapes and any kind of chocolate. Some people like wine.
  • I like strawberries dipped in sour cream (yes, sour cream, not whipped), then dunked in brown sugar. You won't believe how good it is until you try it.
  • Try crackers or bread topped with feta cheese, then drizzled with genuine California olive oil. I got turned on to this after interviewing a local olive producer. He and his wife set out a picnic on their property for me to taste some of their oil and they said this is their fave picnic snack.
  • How does this sound? A bottle of Bogle old vine zinfandel, a hunk of Emmentaler cheese, a loaf of sourdough bread and cooked slices of tri-tip marinated in a wine-teriyaki sauce combination.
  • Classic fruit salad: grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries and citrus. Totally hits the spot!
  • A family picnic classic is homemade peach ice cream—hand-cranked by the kids, of course!
  • I like mixed fruit salad or cubed watermelon for dessert.

Yum! If you're looking for a great place to take your picnic basket (or to get the fixin's for a great picnic), we suggest you visit a farm or ranch along one of California's many farm trails.

Happy picnicking!
—The California Country team

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