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Throw a Frencher Picnic

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
May 23, 2014

The French do some things very well. Gif credit: Cornelia Arabella, Tumblr.

So you’re probably not on a yacht, in the French Riviera, unless you’re super-fancy like that. But now that the weather is fine, there’s nothing stopping you from treating lazy Saturday and Sunday afternoons like the French and Italians do: slowwwwly. At a picnic.

You’ll want a fresh, crunchy-on-the-outside-tender-inside baguette, obviously. And you require a hunk of cheese that will mellow to exactly the right level of ooziness between home and the picnic location. Maybe a triple-crème like Brillat-Savarin

Brillat-Savarin. Photo credit: Artisanal Cheese

Then think about meat, if you eat it. Did you make a homemade chicken liver pâté? Go, you! (It’s not hard. Promise.) Or maybe you have some duck rillettes kicking around, decadent and ready for that baguette. As is true of chicken liver mousse, rillettes look particularly gorgeous in a little glass jar, which you can buy for as little as a couple of bucks.

Photo credit: Jamie Watson, Stockfood

Now you’ve got dairy, meat, and bread, but there are other food groups, apparently, including fresh and pickled things. You’ll want cornichons and Niçoise olives for piquant notes that will break up all the delicious, fatty unctuousness of everything here.

Photo credit: Michael Wissing, StockFood.

And a few washed, dried, raw greens, such as arugula, carefully wrapped in towels, for people to stack on their pieces of baguette. A little freshness goes a long way.

And strawberries! Because those are kicking around now. Or blueberries. If you have good ones, let those be dessert.

Booze. You need some. Provençal rosé, folks, as dry as you like it, which is an excellent palate cleanser and is ideal for slow-moving parties. (Hint: Paler typically means drier.) Or lemonade with a French twist.

For music, we politely suggest Serge Gainsbourg, Air, M83, or anything from this list. For clothing: Stripes or polka-dots have never done wrong by anyone.

How you feelin’? You there yet? (Close your eyes. Listen to Serge.)

Photo credit: StockFood / Deimling-Ostrinsky, Achim

You’re basically French now. Go forth and picnic.