We’re celebrating National Picnic Day by packing our dream all-Ontario picnic baskets. What’s in these mythical, magical, baskets you ask? Keep reading to find out. Warning: Do not scroll through if hungry.
For us, the perfect picnic follows a pretty specific formula. It should keep well at room temperature (or slightly above), must include at least two types of cheese and should always have a seasonal fruit component — yes, wine counts as a fruit component.
PICNIC #1 : For The Carnivores
We’re all about the Saucisson Sec from Seed to Sausage, near Ottawa. It’s available direct from them or you can pick it up at Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Toronto. While you’re at Sanagan’s, pick up 100 grams each of Pingue Proscuitto from Niagara and Grandpa Ham from Sikorski’s. Pair that with a loaf of their butchers bread, made by Black Bird Bakery next door. For the cheese — because we always need cheese — we love 5 Brothers from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese and the rich hit of creamy goodness of Comfort Cream by Upper Canada Cheese for this spread.
PERFECT PAIRING: Tuck a couple cold tall boys of something slightly sweet and hoppy, like Kickin’ Back by Wellington Brewery, into your basket. Kickin� Back is dry-hopped with locally grown Ontario hops from Clear Valley Hops in Nottawa, Ontario.
PICNIC #2 : For The Wee Ones
Packing for kids doesn’t have to be difficult! Start at your local farmers market. We’d fill our basket with a couple pints of Ontario strawberries, some nice orange cheddar from Maple Dale, a pack of Mennonite-made pepperettes brought to market by Ruth at Monforte Dairy and a couple bags of Cheddar Crispies from Evelyn’s Crackers. For dessert, we’d cram as many Augie’s Ice Pops into a cooler as we could — one of every flavour.
PERFECT PAIRING: Ice cold Sapsucker Maple Water! It’s sweet, without being sugary and perfectly refreshing on the hottest of days.
PICNIC #3 : For The First Daters
Figuring out what to pack for a first date takes some ingenuity. Nothing drippy, nothing stinky and definitely nothing that can get stuck in your teeth! We’d start with some 2 year aged gouda from Mountainoak Cheese — it crumbles into perfect bite pieces. We’d pair that with some Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar from Mariposa Dairy too. We’d also tuck some spiced nuts from Jewels Under The Kilts in their and top it all off with some rich duck liver mousse from Stasis Preserves. If you feel like getting sticky, their black walnuts in honey are utter perfection.
PERFECT PAIRING: Nothing makes a date feel fancy quite like VQA bubbles. We ‘d pack a bottle of Violette by Westcott Vineyards in Niagara on ice and open it when the time was just right.
PICNIC #4 : For The Veg-heads
We’d start with a couple packs of Ying Ying Soy Food marinated tofu — we love the sweet and sour flavour! It’s perfect straight from the packet, but can also be tossed into quick salads. We’d also add a container of beet hummus from Earth+City, a couple bunches of easter egg radishes, maybe some fresh asparagus and some colourful carrots. You eat with your eyes first after all!
PERFECT PAIRING: They recommend you get 5-7 servings of fruit and veggies a day. Get your fruit in with a crisp Ontario cider — we like The County Cider Company’s flagship for this one. The sweetness of the Ida reds will go great with the marinated tofu and those bubbles are key to keep things cool!
PICNIC #5 : For The Liquid-Lunchers
Sometimes, we all need a little sipper with our sunshine. Those days, you want to keep your snacking light. We suggest packing up some Ramblin’ Road’s Extreme Dill Pickle Kettle Chips, some Shriner’s Creek Kettle Corn and a couple jars of pickles from Manning Canning. Throw in a couple bags of your favorite cheese curds for good measure. That my friends, is how you snack like a boss.
PERFECT PAIRING: We love this all-snacks, all-the-time scenerio with the new Georgian Bay Gin Smash or a Kichesippi Radler (or two!). The low alcohol levels means you can have a couple extra without stumbling home.
Once you’ve got yourself the perfect picnic, you’ll need to secure yourself the perfect picnic spot! Here are 10 of our favorites:
IN THE CITY
- Hog’s Back Falls, Ottawa
- Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto
- Ward Island, Toronto Islands
- Old Fort Henry, Kingston
- Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto
OUTSIDE THE CITY
- The March Trail, Presqu’ile Provincial Park
- Belfountain Conservation Area, Caledon
- The Second Wedge Breweing Co., Uxbridge
- Inglis Falls, Owen Sound
- Sandbanks Provincial Park, Prince Edward County
What are your favorite picnic spots? Let us know in the comments below or tag us on social!