Packed with Flavor
Picnics Around The World
Ever since Kim Novak slinked down to the lake in the movie Picnic, with William Holden close behind, and they embraced under the twinkling lights, in one of the sexiest scenes of the last century, picnics have never been the same. Far from the peanut butter and jelly jaunts of yesteryear, today's picnics are packed with panache and possibilities to tickle the fussiest gourmet’s fancy.
Meet LINDA BLUM
Linda Blum is a travel writer and the President of Adventure Pro Travel. A professional travel agent with more than 40 years experience, she has traveled the world, visiting over 75 countries and all 7 continents.
Originating in France over 200 years ago as a social gathering where all the participants would bring food to share, picnics required each member to provide a share of the entertainment as well. Today, the term “picnic” includes almost every type of informal outdoor meal—clambake, barbecue or fish fry.
Take a trip with me on some picnics we’ve enjoyed around the world:
While visiting San Francisco with friends, we spontaneously decided to rent bikes on Fisherman’s Wharf and cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge to the artist’s colony at Sausalito. Armed with cameras and sweatshirts, we began our trek over hill and dale, finally arriving at Sausalito’s beautiful promenade along the bay with a fabulous view of San Francisco. Tired, hungry and grungy, we found a little gourmet shop selling sandwiches, cheese, wine and tasty sweets, and gathered enough provisions for six of us to lounge along the rocks, enjoying the view and the sunshine, reflecting on our biking achievement. Sharing our treats, laughing and complimenting each other on our splendid physical stamina, we replenished our energy before catching the ferry back to San Francisco.
The entire California coastline is dotted with dreamy spots for breaking bread amidst magnificent vistas.
If you’re anything like me, you love all things Italian and especially Italian food. While planning a trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast, we arranged to spend a day with a chef, learning her tricks of the trade.
Mamma Agata lives in an oceanside villa in Ravello, 45 minutes south of Sorrento. She’s been cooking for the likes of John F. Kennedy and other luminaries for nearly 50 years. Now she spends her days teaching cooking to visitors and serving up authentic, time-honored recipes.
We arrived about 11am to begin our class which included techniques like salting eggplant and leaving it to rest before cooking (so it’s not mushy) and the art of eating fresh mozzarella, while saving day-old cheese for cooking. Vendors came to the door delivering fresh bread, cheese and vegetables, while we sliced ingredients for an antipasto, deep fried zucchini blossoms, and prepared veal, chicken and eggplant mozzarella for the main course, with pasta of course! With everything prepared, we retired to the terrace where a pergola, covered with grape vines, provided shade and atmosphere for our feast. Over the next two hours, we ate, drank and ate some more atop the rugged Italian coastline.
While spending a weekend at The Bluff House, on Green Turtle Key in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas, we booked a snorkel and picnic tour with a guide named Lincoln Jones. Lincoln, I later learned, was a local legend, guiding small numbers of pleasure seekers to deserted island picnics for many years.
Six of us headed out about 10am and stopped in town for a supply of rum, coke, wine and beer for the cooler, before hitting the first reef. Once anchored, Lincoln prepared his Hawaiian Sling, inquiring if any of us liked lobster. We all agreed that we love lobster, and jumped overboard with our snorkel gear.
While we were marveling at the brightly colored corals and fish, Lincoln was busy looking under rocks.
When he surfaced after what seemed like forever, he had six giant lobsters on his sling. Another dive netted five more impressive lobsters.
We hoisted anchor and continued to another reef where Lincoln scored another five spiny lobsters. After asking if we liked fish (we foolishly said no), Lincoln decided to get one just in case. Up he came with a huge grouper on his sling before beaching on one of the loveliest of the 800 Bahamian islands in the chain.
We all scouted for wood to build a fire for lunch, while Lincoln cleaned the fish and lobster tails. Then he cooked the lobsters in seawater, while battering and frying the grouper, along with home fried potatoes and salad.
At this picnic to end all picnics, we ate lobster until we were so stuffed that we fed the rest to the seagulls. We sang Jimmy Buffet songs while the rum flowed and floated on gentle ocean swells. A day to remember? I think so!