There’s a whisper of fall as cool, gentle breezes rustle the leaves in the trees. Songbirds add their cheerful tunes. With this sublime symphony of creation as a backdrop, set up your picnic in a favorite spot, dining on a last alfresco meal before winter’s chill sets in. Give your sumptuous romantic getaway a menu of tasty take-alongs that feature fresh seasonal ingredients. Toting some supplies in a woven basket gives your outing a traditional touch. Tuck in a pretty linen picnic cloth to protect your feast and pack plates, napkins and utensils. Strike an intimate mood to close out the season. Read aloud from the Song of Solomon, enjoy a horseback ride and live life abundantly.
Cheese and Crackers. Start the picnic off with an appetizer that stimulates the palate with intriguing flavors. To accompany imported olives and thin crackers, bring along an artisanal cheese. Visit a gourmet cheese counter to find a lovely chunk of Dutch cheese, left. Try smoked Gouda, a creamy yellow cheese noted for its pungent aroma with a nutty, buttery flavor, or graskaas cheese, a mild and semisoft choice that comes from grass-fed cows. Wrap cheese in parchment paper or foil and transport in an airtight container. To find a selection of gourmet olives, check out the olive bars at large supermarkets and high-end grocery stores.
Tuscan Salad. Good things come in all sorts of packages when you bring a little creativity to your serving vessels. Old-fashioned canning jars, left center, let the bold and beautiful colors of a garden-fresh salad shine through. Fill jars with a toss of green beans, grape tomatoes, sliced onions and prosciutto (an Italian-style ham), and add an herbed vinaigrette dressing. Pack the containers along with ice in an insulated cooler.
Rosemary Chicken and Pesto Sandwiches. Tender, juicy chicken breast sandwiches, above, take on a new twist when they are slathered with an aromatic basil pesto sauce, zipped up with peppery arugula and studded with dried tomatoes. Wrap each sandwich in parchment paper, tie with kitchen string and add fun labels. To transport, refrigerate for 30 minutes before placing in an insulated cooler with ice packs. Don’t forget to include refreshing drinks.
Apricot Bars. Deliciously fruity crumb-topped treats, left, are a sweet ending to a wonderful afternoon of good food and laughter. They’re easy to carry and easier to eat. Cut individual bars and place in an airtight container lined with parchment paper. You may need to add crushed parchment paper as filler to keep the bars from sliding around while being transported.