If you’re anything like us, the warmer weather has you itching to be outdoors. We suffered through the long, hard winter, and summer is our chance to relax, play, and most importantly, eat in the beautiful sunny weather. Picnics are the perfect way to celebrate the return of the sun, and we want you to be prepared to enjoy the sunshine with your friends. We’ve created a list of some of our best picnic tips and cheeses to help you get out of the house and start enjoying the sun. Check it out:
What to Bring
1) Bring light foods: thinks in terms of snacks, salads, and spreads that way you can graze a bit, rather than eating one giant heavy meal.
2) Choose summer fruits to enjoy while they’re in season. Melons and grapes go great with cheeses.
3) To avoid fruit browning on the trip (like apples), give them a quick dunk in a bowl of water with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice.
4) Crackers will work better on the go than bread — no slicing required!
5) Speaking of no slicing – mini salamis, like our Olli Salaminis, are just the right size to take with you, and require no messy cutting.
6) That being said, bring a small wooden cutting board and spreader knife for any of the harder cheeses. A spreader knife will be strong enough to work through firm cheeses, but not so sharp that it will poke through your bag!
7) Glass is heavy. Nix anything in glass (like jams, pickles, etc.) by repacking it in reusable plastic containers.
How to Select Your Cheeses
1) Bring durable cheeses. Your cheese should be able to withstand some jostling, and withstand some heat. We recommend Garrotxa and Guntensberg as two cheeses that won’t sweat too much.
2) A bloomy-rind or ash-rind goat’s milk cheese will taste great on a warm day, and will hold up well if not too runny. We recommend something a bit more citrusy during the summer, like Sofia, and something a bit richer during the spring and fall, like Monte Enebro.
3) If you’re going on a hike, a rugged, hard sheep’s milk cheese is perfect. Pico Melero, Bear Hill or Verano all fit the bill.
4) Our mongers firmly believe there is a cheddar for every weather. Keen’s is great for the spring and summer, Monty’s for the fall, Isle of Mull when it’s grey, and Flory’s Truckle when skies are bright.
5) By far the most monger-recommend cheese is our Housemade Marinated Chevre. It’s perfect for spreading, plus it comes in its own little container. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and is marinated in delicious olive oil, herbs, and a touch of chili flake.
6) But if you really want to avoid picking your own cheese, we’ve made it easy with our Picnic Collection cheese basket that comes with everything you need for a picture perfect picnic.
Where to Go
1) The National Arboretum is beautiful year-round, with dozens of locations to check out different types of scenes. Spring means blossoming trees, summer has meadows galore, and fall shows off gorgeous colors. Just remember — no alcoholic beverages allowed.
2) Rock Creek Park is perfect if you want to get more immersed in nature. It has numerous picnic locations available year round and you can even reserve picnic sites online.
3) The National Mall: obviously there are numerous sites along the mall to picnic, but our favorite is the Southwest Duck Pond — so quaint!
4) Meridian Hill Park may be overlooked by those who don’t live nearby, but it’s a gorgeous spot, located in the middle of the city. The park is full of fountains, benches and stairs – perfect for a romantic picnic.
Go forth with this knowledge, and enjoy the gorgeous weather. But remember to wear your sunscreen and clean up after yourself. These DC summers are no joke!