Forget the mayo-laden potato salad and the fried chicken drumsticks from past generations, today’s picnickers are much more pick(nick?)y. Especially in Northern California where the adage “Life is too short to drink bad wine” is part of everyday vernacular. The following are some simple tips to creating a magical picnic day:
- Bring a blanket/quilt for seating. Seating options may be limited and if you should pass a beautifully shady and secluded spot with a view, you will be glad you came prepared.
- Many wineries have outside seating and encourage visitors to bring a picnic and stay awhile – and buy a bottle of wine, of course. You should NOT bring food into a winery that serves food – that’s a major faux pas. And don’t bring your own wine to a winery. (Oy vey!)
- It’s really the finger food aspect of a picnic that makes it intimate, simple, and special. The most romantic finger food options are the classics: wine, bread, cheese, and maybe a bit of fruit for good measure. Anything much more complicated than that is just too fussy for the simple pleasure of a picnic on a beautiful day.
- One caveat: When you go simple, make sure that every simple thing is simply the best little thing available. That means no cheddar cheese, please. Two great local Sonoma County cheeses to sample are Truffle Tremor by Cypress Grove (goat cheese with truffle) and the Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam (Triple Crema).
- The bread should come from a proper bakery and it should be soft enough to tear off in pieces – a baguette, for example. The only utensil you’ll want to worry about bringing is a cheese knife.
- If you want to add some fruit to the picnic, the local black mission figs would be amazing. If you don’t mind prepping a bit, slice and pack a local Gravenstein apple.
- Some favorite wineries for picnic-seekers are Lambert Bridge Winery with its private, umbrella-shaded tables, and Rochioli Winery which is just small enough to make you feel like it’s all yours.