As the late, great AA Gill observed, “Simplicity is the order of the day for a successful picnic.” Find the best picnic fare here and plan your day in the sun …
As the late, great AA Gill observed, “Simplicity is the order of the day for a successful picnic.” Gill wasn’t a fan of the faff and fussy events that picnics have evolved into and I have to agree. Picnics should be the epitome of casual dining with handheld food being the ideal bites to bring along. Think scotch eggs, hefty sandwiches, sausage rolls and drinks straight from the bottle (or flask). Dessert too should be on the simple side, fresh fruit or bite-sized delicacies from your favourite bakery. Here are a few of our favourite places to procure no muss, no fuss picnic supplies. Leave the crystal glassware at home but do not forget the napkins as picnics can, and should be, a slightly messy affair.
Izz Café, Cork
The take away picnic from Izz café in Cork is the stuff of dreams for any Middle Eastern food aficionado heading on a picnic. What’s more, cutlery is (basically) optional. Yes, it might be a challenge to scoop up creamy hummus or labneh, but that’s where the Manoosheh comes in. A picnic box for one (€17.50) includes a choice of Manoosheh, a side of either hummus or labneh and the option to add a drink and the all-important pickles. Briny vine leaves also make the ideal picnic snack and double up as the perfect vehicle to scoop up the last of the hummus.
The Phoenix Café at The Phoenix Park Visitors Centre, Dublin
The Phoenix Café has long been the go-to spot for park visitors who crave delicious food and a beautiful space to enjoy it. The scones are famous, as are the quiches, hot dishes and the homemade cakes. The queues can often be long but staff are efficient and they move quickly – plus, this is a testament to the enduring popularity and quality of the food. The picnic box can be pre-ordered online and includes a choice of freshly made doorstep sandwich, a scone with cream and jam, a sea salt and chocolate brownie bite, elderflower lemonade and a tea or coffee. There is also the option to upgrade to a coconut milk iced coffee and there are children’s, vegan and vegetarian options available.
Picnics by the sea can be a nightmare to navigate but the staff at Olive in Skerries have taken any pain out of the experience. The picnic sharing box (€45) includes a selection of fresh fruit, cured meats and cheeses, olives, grapes, chutney, hummus, tapenade, crackers, bread and San Pellegrino refreshing fruit drinks. Again there are vegan and vegetarian options and if you are feeling frisky, the choice to add a bottle of fizz. No forks required.
Kerry Sushi, Tralee, Co Kerry
Sushi may not be the first thing that springs to mind when planning the perfect picnic, but perhaps it should be given its ease of eating. In Tralee, Kerry Sushi make a picnic platter with a dozen oysters with condiments and shucking knife plus a sushi platter of salmon, prawn and crab with a mix of nigiri for €49. There are vegetarian and vegan options available too. Slurping oysters laced with tabasco and lemon on a sunny day, lakeside in Kerry sounds pretty idyllic to me. Pack a bottle of your favourite Champagne and you are good to go.
Minetta Deli, Sutton Cross, Dublin
As mentioned earlier, the sausage roll is an integral part of any true picnic, and the ones from teeny tiny Minetta Deli are worth tracking down. Also worth tracking down is the devilled Howth crab sandwich, a tub of the Valencia almonds and the dark chocolates with crushed espresso. The entire range is available to order online and collect (or have delivered locally) with same day delivery available. It’s picnic heaven.