In Part II of ‘getting away to your deck,’ we’re sharing another fun and trendy outdoor activity: hosting a posh picnic.
This outdoor dining experience is quite different from the sit-on-the-grass type of al fresco meal. Most of the menu will be pre-made like a regular picnic, but it tends to be more gourmet and served à la fancy.
Most importantly, any outdoor dining chairs ensure there will be no sore backsides, or “numb bums” as in the case of picnics on a blanket on the ground.
A posh picnic can be part of a ‘glamping’ weekend (see last week’s blog) or an event all of its own. Of course, it can be held away from home, but it’s a lot easier hosted right in your own yard and deck. It can also be catered.
Posh Up Your Deck Decor
Even if you have a handsome deck (as all our Deck and Patio projects are of course…ahem), you can still consider some decorative flourishes.
But before choosing them, you might want to begin with a theme. For example, you could host a ‘garden party picnic’ — where beautiful blooms take center stage.
You could also include on your invitations what your guests should wear.
For example, you can host a cocktail hour on your patio before the picnic and pass around some finger foods like mini Caprese bites, or strawberry bruschetta or anything that might have come from your garden. For this kind of theme, ladies might be encouraged to wear clothing designed with florals.
Next. Besides a sturdy table, some sort of tablecloth is a must — perhaps white linen but something more colorful might suit you best. Also consider some crystal glasses, and, of course, at least a few pieces of fine china.
To finish glamming up your deck, add some attractive throw pillows to your picnic table benches or dining chairs, if they do not already have comfy cushions.
And if you think the event will last into the evening, a few strings of lights and music will help keep the mood lively.
Picnic Menu’s Are Usually Made Ahead
The basic idea for a posh picnic is: the breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea is primarily made up of pre-packaged or pre-cooked foods — in other words, this isn’t a barbecue. And because it’s on your deck, everything is just steps away in your kitchen. No concerns about transporting delicate foods in the warm summer weather.
Posh Picnic Appetizers
For appetizers, how about some prosciutto, cheese, white wine and aioli along with baskets of crusty bread.
Maybe serve this with some pâté and olives.
Simplified Main Menu
A relative once told me she was, “gourmet-impaired,” and some of your friends may also prefer simpler food. So, for an upscale menu that’s more tried and true, there’s nothing like cold fried chicken with coleslaw and potato salad.
To ‘glamp’ these menu items up, just tie a pretty ribbon around tiered serving plates, or simply use decorative plates or bowls when serving them. Frankly, we don’t know anyone who’d turn their nose up at crispy fried chicken and a glass of cold white wine.
Gourmet Main Menus
Grilled Ahi tuna, ready to be grabbed from your kitchen fridge when it’s time to serve, is one sophisticated choice.
Another is cold salmon fillets.
Either of these could be served with an idea we saw on Pinterest: roasted aubergine and lentil salad with mint and yoghurt dressing.
Sound pretty yummy?
Of course, you won’t go wrong with warm or cold lobster, served in a buttery broth or with some homemade mayonnaise, a rémoulade, or a béarnaise or hollandaise on the side for dipping.
This crustacean doesn’t require much gilding, but a variety of salads would be nice. For cold lobster, maybe a potato salad of purple or multi-colored baby potatoes.
And for dessert? A summer fruit salad and almond cake could be a crowd pleaser. Or a rich homemade brownie, or perhaps some mini meringues, or different colored French macarons (very different from macaroons).
If your theme is a posh afternoon tea, the ideas are endless. Scones would be a must for this, with lots of fresh berries and cream — and, of course, some cucumber or poached salmon sandwiches. We believe you can even hire a butler to serve, if you wan to go the full Downton Abbey monty.
One last suggestion. Don’t forget some filtered water along with the wine and/or champagne.
So here’s to summer on your deck, 2018!