For those of you who can’t make it to Italy for an authentic Italian style picnic, you can still recreate the experience by following these tips:
As with any exterior event, location is the secret for success. Italians will often enjoy their picnics in public parks or private gardens where they can eat relaxed in the shade and absorb the sun afterward to digest. While you may not have access to the Cypress Tree filled parks of Italy, your best alternative is to find a corner from the beaten path to enjoy a little peace and quiet with your meal.
If a picnic or portable table is not an options, Italians do not mind relaxing on a blanket, towel or tablecloth.
Ah yes, I almost forgot about the food. To start this humble feast, most Italian picnics include a generous quantity of classic finger foods such as:
Aged or soft cheeses like Pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano or Burrata
Prosciutto, speck, salami or mortadella
Cut vegetables (carrots, fennel, celery, etc.)
Fresh fruit such as melon, figs and pears
Italian bread, rolls or focaccia
According to the size of the gathering, many Italians will also prepare cold dishes to add a little more substance to the meal. These can range from simple first course recipes to “piatti unici” or one-dish meals. For example:
Insalata di pasta fredda, rice or couscous
Verdure ripiene (stuffed vegetables)
Torte salate such as savory tarts or quiches
And the sweet end? No Italian picnic would be complete without fresh fruit. Cherries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches or plums: whether thrown in a delicious salad or just sliced fresh, Italians end almost every meal as well as picnics with a sweet serving of fruit.
With such a magnificent picnic feast, there is only one ingredient missing: the wine.
When paired correctly, a glass of red -or on hot days, chilled white wine can make the food taste even better,bringing out the unique flavours and spices.
Choosing a wine could be a little bit daunting, but in the spring and summer months Italians will generally opt for a simple Chianti Classico, a Rosé (or Rosato), a Trebbiano or a sparkling wine like Prosecco.
A good rule to follow is to keep the wine (both red and white) chilled on ice in a cooler or in the shade for better enjoyment. Also, while paper and plastic cups are fine, wine is always more enjoyable in a glass.
Now you are ready to have an Italian picnic! Have fun and don’t forget to pack your sunscreen,music and good humour Buon Appetito!
Wines to try for your Picnic:
Zaccagnini Cuvée dell'Abate 2016-white wine-. ( Abruzzo). SAQ only online: 12884288. $17.70
The Pecorino grape is an indigenous Italian white wine varietal that is grown in the Marche, Abruzzo, Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio regions of Italy. Citrusy and aromatic on the nose with very pleasant overtones of grapefruit. A fresh taste with exotic fruit notes, crisp, round with a rich finale.
Umberto Cesari Iove rose 2016. ( Rubicone). SAQ # 13188751. $13.55
On the nose, watermelon, mandarines with a touch of red orange. Fruity, and easy to drink, with a touch of residual sugar WIll even please the people that do not like wine.
Fratelli Alessandria Dolcetto d'Alba 2015.-red wine- ( Piemonte). SAQ # 11580186. $21.95
A lovely aromatic wine that brings to mind black and red fruits such as strawberry and pitted cherry with almonds and flowers and a touch of leather.The mouth is dry, with a fresh acidity and firm tannins and a finale that brings to mind a slight good bitterness.