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Recipes: Reinventing the picnic

Recipes: Reinventing the picnic

There are countless places to have a picnic: the beach or the mountains, the national park or the neighbourhood park, or even your favourite agritourism farm. Whether your theme is traditional or contemporary, here are some ideas to get you started.

Our ideas for sandwiches in a jiffy

Picnic amid the blossoms

From Montreal to Grand-Métis, St. John's to Victoria and countlessplaces in between, Canada offers anamazingvariety of outdoor destinations where you can enjoy a picnic surrounded by floral splendour. Ask your guests to wear flowery clothes and buy picnic plates with flower motifs. And don't forget the camera! You can also create a theme with butterflies or honeybees, natural companions of flowers.

Primary colours picnic

Choose one or two theme colours, for example red and blue, and ask your guests to dress in these tones. Match the tablecloth with your plates and utensils, and you're off to a great start. You can also include the menu in your theme. For a red-themed picnic, serve gazpacho or tomato and bocconcini salad, or crudités with a red pepper dip. For drinks, consider virgin Bloody Marys or sangria. Get creative! The possibilities are endless.

Water wonderful picnic!

If you live close to a waterfront park, you already have the ideal backdrop. If not, create your own beach party at home. Go California style, with board shorts, backyard beach volleyball, some Beach Boys on the radio and a cooler filled with your and their favourite refreshments. Also essential to this theme are the flavours and aroma of barbecue. Get your group flocking to the table with our recipe for Quesadillas with chipotle pepper turkey.

Safari picnic

A popular choice for families, this picnic combines playing with learning. Help your little ones dress up in the safari style: khakis, a hat and sunglasses, then trek to your local nature park. Bring along clear containers and magnifying glasses to catch and observe insects. Bring a scrapbook as well, to preserve the finest leaf samples gathered. And don't forget the camera, for the kids to take snapshots of things in nature that interest them.

Maximum play picnic

"The more the merrier", as they say. Tell your guests to bring their favourite outdoor activity. Water pistols are a warm-weather favourite, along with Frisbee, volleyball, soccer, badminton and baseball. One child might bring a kite to fly, but careful of the remote control plane someone else brought! Once the gang have worked up an appetite, they can bite into these Chicken croissants with spinach, tomatoes and black pepper mayo.

Nations of the world picnic

What's the best country for food? Set a course to this place with a menu to match. If it's Mexican they like, get them to dress in red and green, and serve salsa and guacamole with our Turkey Mexican wrap. If the choice is Italian, use a red and white checkered tablecloth. Serve up some deli meats as an antipasti, and follow with their favourite chilled pasta dish. For the adults, red wine is also fine. Thinking Spanish? Try tapas and sangria, and for musical accompaniment, the rhythms of the Gypsy Kings. What's your favourite country for food?

Quebec's paramount picnic

Heard of the Dîner en blanc ? With the date and location only revealed at the last minute, this annual avant-garde picnic invites Montrealers (and Parisians before them) to dress in white and bring their own folding tables and picnic baskets. The result is an event like no other, popular to the point where they have a waiting list. Care to add your name?