Packing the Perfect Picnic

August is the perfect month for an evening picnic- the temperatures start to drop in the evening, making the crazy heat a bit more bearable. I am headed to a few picnic destinations this month- Diner en Blanc later this week, Ravinia at the end of the month, and Langdon Beach for my children’s pre-school.

Packing the perfect picnic is all about variety, and choosing items that are treats instead of the boring go-tos that you include in your kid’s lunch (if I see a Lunchable, I will smack it out of your hand…nicely). I asked the experts at Pastoral Artisan Cheese & Wine what their favorite items are, and they sent me snaps of their pre-packed picnic baskets! How easy is this?? Oh, and Diner en Blanc Chicago attendees get a sweet 15% discount this week on cheese, charcuterie and bread at all of their store locations.

Decadent Picnic

Sweet and savory, the way every picnic should be! A taste of 3 different cheeses with a baguette and sweet treats including Spanish chocolates, local sea salt caramels, and Michigan dried cherries.

Picnic Tip: Make sure to add sweet treats, and try to get locally made goodies if possible. A sea salt caramel goes well with a slightly salty cheese!

Francophile Picnic

Why not go classic French since they do picnics so well? Pate, preserves, creamy, sweet & savory cheeses, olives and mustard create a delish meal!

Picnic Tip: Try gathering food from one region, including local cheese and condiments; cultural immersion in a delicious way!

Grande Italiano Picnic 

Cheese from multiple sources is a fun way to compare and contrast- this spread has goat’s milk, water buffalo milk,  and sheep’s milk cheeses. And have you tried spreadable salami? Adding just a small dollop will change your picnic!

Picnic Tip: A drizzle of high quality honey can take bread and cheese to a sweet new level! 

Picnic Royale

Why not go all out and try some unique flavors and combinations? Curried Cauliflower, Pickled Green Beans, Smoked, Herbed Ham add to the mix in a flavorful way. And my fave- Peanut Butter Cups from Wild Ophelia in Illinois. YUM!

Picnic Tip: The addition of vegetables, pickled or fresh, can lighten up a meat and cheese-heavy picnic.

Taste of the Midwest Picnic

Although sampling savory delights from other countries can be a fabulous adventure, you can stay local and still be amazed! The cheese, salami, sausage and confit are all from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa.

Picnic Tip: Want a truly Midwestern experience? Go on the Wisconsin Cheese Tour to see where your delicacies are made!

I hope you enjoy your picnics this summer and fall- if it rains, head indoors and have a picnic inside! Cheers!

Disclosure: All photos are compliments of Pastoral Artisan.



  1. August 12, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    That is one dreamy picnic. I like your style…cheese and all the fixings!

  2. January 5, 2017 / 9:15 am

    I will definitely come check this place again with some other awesome friends of mine! It's one of best places for having a good time with a joyous feeling. And seattle venues fascinates me with their great style and vibrant atmosphere.

  3. January 30, 2017 / 4:59 pm

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  4. Sneha Goswami
    March 11, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    Being a foodie, I love to eat the local foods wherever I go. Really, it becomes a golden opportunity for me. Especially, I prefer to the veggie foods as that are both tasty and good for health. Apart from that, we do party and picnic whenever we get time irrespective of the season and the time. And this is necessarily required in everybody's life. Because, in between our mundane work schedules, we need to be relaxed and refreshed.
    Plan A Perfect Trip