Food, friends, sunshine—is there anything as fun and relaxing as having a picnic? Give your picnic spread a refresher this summer with these amazing destination-themed picnic ideas! —Vita Daily
north carolina. North Carolina is a culinary behemoth. The state has made its mark on the culinary world thanks to award-winning chefs and locally sourced heritage ingredients. Tickle your taste buds with recipes inspired by North Carolina’s long history of delicious food making, starting with a Lexington barbecue feast. Lexington is best known for hickory-smoked pit-cooked barbecued pit shoulders and has been since the early 1900s. The pork is offered up finely or coarsely chopped or as slices—but never “pulled.” It’s typically served with “red” or “white” coleslaw and often as part of a sandwich tray or plate with hush puppies (deep-fried round ball made from cornmeal-based batter) and more on the side. The famed Lexington-style sauce is generally made of ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Then, end the meal on a sweet note, with a dish called sonker from Surry County. Sonker is a regional dessert, unique to Surry County in the form of a deep-dish fruit pie. Many historians believe it originated as a way to maximize the usage of fruit in hard times and/or stretch the usage of fruit that was at the end of ripeness. Sonker uses whatever fruits are in season mixed with ingredients readily available in most kitchens. Check out the Surry Sonker Trail website for recipe inspiration!
maryland. The abundance of Maryland is reflected in its unique cuisine. From freshly steamed crabs to crispy fried chicken to layers of scrumptious Smith Island Cake—Maryland offers unique foods to please every palate. Start your picnic right with a dockside favourite: tangy, spicy, healthy, and unbelievably delicious, you can make your own Maryland rockfish and mango ceviche with this delicious recipe, or try crab cakes made with handpicked Maryland jumbo lump crab. Then, whip up the official Maryland State dessert, Smith Island cake—a standout on any picnic table with its thin layers of delicate yellow cake each slathered in a decadent shmear of icing. Try it with traditional chocolate icing, or a festive cooked coconut topping for a brighter treat.
bermuda. Is there any better place to have a picnic than on pink-sand beaches gazing into turquoise waters? No. No there is not. EETTAFEL is a super-chic luxury picnic purveyor based in Bermuda. Its all-inclusive picnic service provides the most convenient way to bask in the beautiful outdoors and enjoy a unique dining experience! Recreate the experience with a Rum Swizzle—the perfect “make in advance” cocktail to keep the fun going all day long. There’s no right way to make a rum swizzle, just ask any Bermudian. Often referred to as “Bermuda’s national drink,” the rum-based cocktail is a staple across the island and typically contains a blend of different citrus juices, spices and bitters. But because no two renditions are the same, locals often find it difficult to come to a consensus over whose blend is best. Then, pack fish sandwiches for everyone in your picnic party—from local dives to fine dining bistros, the fish sandwich is a perennial menu staple in Bermuda’s restaurants. The basic recipe is usually the same island-wide: deep-fried fillets of fish with tartar sauce piled on raisin bread or whole-wheat toast. Usual add-ons (“the works”) include lettuce, tomato, grilled Bermuda onions, cheese, hot sauce and coleslaw. But each eatery has its own spin on this local favourite.
arizona. Arizona’s a treasure trove of established, James Beard Award-winning chefs as well as chefs that are inventive and cooking with locally sourced ingredients to create spicy, sweet, savory, umami, and memorable. Picnic wise, make your basket reflect the state with Sonoran hot dogs—believed to have originated in the 1940s, this street food from Sonora, Mexico, puts a south-of-the-border twist on its American counterpart. Instead of a traditional bun, a split-top roll called a bolillo cradles the hot dog, which is wrapped in bacon and piled high with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise and other condiments. Or, pack cheese crisps, which are an open-faced quesadilla. It all starts with a flour tortilla stretched out on a pizza pan, brushed with butter and then toasted in the oven for a few minutes. Once it’s lightly crisped and starting to curl at the edges, the tortilla gets layered with cheese (and sometimes green chiles), then goes back into the oven to melt the cheese. It’s cut into slices—again, like a pizza—and served. Don’t forget the fry bread; dating back to 1864 when the Navajo people from Arizona were forced to make the “Long Walk,” a 300-mile deportation to a reservation in New Mexico. Using their limited supplies, the Navajo combined flour, water, salt and baking powder and then fried the dough in lard.