There's nothing quite like summer in Paris. It's the stuff of dreams and walking through the quaint streets of the city is always a delight. It's the perfect time to organize picnics in the most famous Parisian parks like Le Parc Monceau, Le Jardin du Luxembourg and Le Champs de Mars, right next to the Eiffel Tower. Even if you don't have flight tickets to the City of Lights this summer, we're sharing our tips on how to picnic like the Parisians do--from wherever you are in the world!
Grab your friends and prepare to design a French-inspired picnic full of fresh ingredients for a delicious outing! Pick & choose from the following to create your own perfect feast.
1) The Meat
La viande (the meat) is your culinary base. Go for cured meats like salami or prosciutto, which pair well with a variety of cheeses. Smoky chorizo (one of our faves!) or saucisson (sausage) work well too!
Parisian Tip: Try at least 2 or 3 different kinds of meat to create a diverse spectrum of flavor.
2) The Cheese
Choose your cheeses based on the meats you bring. Keep in mind the acidity and texture of the cheese, so the flavors complement each other. Prosciutto pairs well with parmigiano reggiano. Chorizo and pepperoni are harder and spicier, so they pair wonderfully with softer cheeses like brie, camembert or reblochon.
Parisian Tip: Did you know that several French cheeses are banned in the USA, including mimolette and camembert de Normandie? If you're in Europe, this is a good chance to go wild and experiment with new flavors that you won't find back home! ;)
3) Fruits & Vegetables
Meats and cheeses tend to be fattier foods, so include fruits and vegetables in your picnic to balance the heaviness with some freshness. If you're in Paris for spring or summer, we recommend: blackberries, strawberries, melons, peaches, and plums for the most delicious picks. For vegetables: radishes, olives, and tomatoes pair perfectly with meat and cheese!
Parisian Tip: Focus on what produce is currently in season! The French never sacrifice flavor for convenience.
4) The Bread
Good bread is the key to any successful Parisian picnic. The perfect baguette is simultaneously crunchy and soft, and unbelievably delicious with cheese and meat! It's truly love at first bite. In Paris, this will likely be the easiest part of your shopping trip, since there are boulangeries (bakeries) at every corner in the city.
Parisian Tip: You can actually request a crunchier baguette than average at bakeries in Paris, now that's called talking bread seriously!
5) The Wine (aka the best part)
In true French spirit, no meal would be complete without a glass of good wine and a picnic is an excellent excuse to open up a bottle or two!
If you prefer red wine, we recommend: Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
If you prefer white wine, we recommend: Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
Otherwise, sparkling wine or champagne are fantastic options as well!
6) The Desserts
Every Parisian would insist that finishing your picnic with a sweet touch is essential. You can pick from classic macarons, éclairs au chocolat, or moelleux au chocolat (molten chocolate cake). Otherwise, explore the plethora of exciting new flavors you'll find in any French patisserie!
Parisian Tip: Buy high quality ingredients. French picnics are all about appreciating the individual flavors of each food--choosing high quality ingredients will give you the best flavors and therefore the most authentic Parisian picnic experience!