You're 3 Steps Away from the Perfect Picnic

originally published by Jessica Lemmon for Harlequin here

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Where I live, we’re in the throes of summer. Both the heat and humidity are at all-time highs, which means many of my “date nights” are spent on the boat or floating around in the lake. A restaurant or movie theater is always an option, but for a perfect summer date I recommend packing a picnic.

My version of a picnic date doesn’t involve hours in the kitchen prepping or hauling the grill to the picnic spot. This picnic is 100% portable and served cold, which is ideal for combatting summer heat, and can easily be enjoyed at two in the afternoon on a Saturday or Tuesday evening while stargazing. Whatever says romance to you and your SO is the perfect time for this picnic.

The necessities:

STEP 1: Procure a “basket”

The hubs and I forgo a traditional picnic basket and choose either a cooler or a picnic tote I bought for just such an occasion.

STEP 2: Gather flatware, bowls, plates & napkins

Plastic, paper or the real thing—it’s totally up to you! While you can choose anything you like, here’s what I usually pack.

  • A selection of cheeses. One hard, one soft—brie and cheddar, for example. I love smoked Gouda and Havarti, too.

  • Grapes, sliced apples, blueberries or strawberries. Vanilla yogurt makes a great topping.

  • I always pack store-bought hummus, but you could opt instead for chicken salad, spinach and artichoke dip, or even bean dip.

  • Bread, crackers, chips or cucumber rounds, carrot sticks and red pepper slices are the perfect accompaniment to dip.

  • Sparkling water or sparkling wine—the option is yours! Just don’t forget the stemware! This is a romantic date, after all.

STEP 3: Find a venue

Whether you’re attending an outdoor concert, boarding a boat, spreading out a quilt on your living room rug or in your backyard, it doesn’t matter where you enjoy your romantic date night, only that you enjoy it together.

Now it’s your turn! Tell me…what’s your favorite picnic food?