Friday, 4 August 2017

Food | A Francophile's perfect picnic

We’re off to France later this month where we’ll be spending a week at Eurocamp as a family of seven. Euros are being hoarded for what will inevitably be a huge ice cream budget but with that many hungry mouths to feed we’ll be picnicking on the beach rather than tucking napkins in for some fine dining.

But what does a French style picnic look like? For three of the kids it’ll be their first visit to France so we’re getting them prepped with a practice run (minus the weather which is currently cold, grey and rainy, bien sur).

How to pack a French picnic

1. Baguette

The staple of most French meals, from alfresco snack on the go to bread basket before a three-course meal. When I spent a couple of weeks as a teen with a French exchange family, I experienced the absolutely glorious French snack that is squares of chocolate stuffed into baguette. We’d head to the beach every day for endless swimming and sunbathing, keeping our energy up with this basic interpretation of pain au chocolate. Which leads me on to…

2. Chocolate

See above. The thing is, if it’s sunshine we’re hoping for then chocolate won’t last long so I’m imagining this to be an early snack.

3. Cheese

Bread and cheese = classic picnic. The kids don’t mind a bit of experimentation when it comes to different cheeses (although I think they’re a few years away from the Roquefort that I only learnt to love as a teenager). Boursin is a good option for encouraging a bit of adventurousness, plus they all love garlic bread so this will be a thumbs up from them. (For me, I’ll be replacing the Boursin with a tub of piri piri hummus until the happy day when a vegan Boursin hits the market!)

4. Beer

There is little that I find more relaxing than sitting on a beach in the sunshine, a little woozy from the heat and the ice cold can of beer in my hand. Ideally, this would be accompanied by a portion of frites from the beach snack van please. And maybe Eric Cantona.

5. Orangina

The drink of my youth, this is a holiday ritual I’m keen to pass onto the kids. That bumpy bottle, those bits, the command to shake the bottle (and the idea that your drink is having a little snooze and needs waking). The other drink of French holidays circa 1993 was an appley cider jr called Brut de Pomme that we were CONVINCED was getting us drunk. I wonder if they still make it?

6. Crisps

But they must either be ready salted or paprika flavour and in an enormous red foil bag.

7. Madeleines

I love these light sponge cakes – simple, sweet and shaped like little shells. They also make an excellent portable snack as the Bonne Maman ones come sealed individually.

8. Fruit

Beachy fruit memories are always of giant watermelon grins, sliced with deadly-looking sharp knives sitting in the shade, while orange cantaloupes and honeydews were made for every starter in every bistro, served with ham.

And I think that’s it. Other than the endless stream of ice cream!

So do you have any memories of summer holidays and the food in particular?
What would you add to our hamper of French fancies?
And any Eurocamp tips or ideas for entertaining big families on long drives?!

Let me know in the comments...

Thanks to Boursin for sponsoring this post and to you for reading and supporting this blog.
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