The warm and gentle season is here at last, inviting us to enjoy outdoor life. There are so many occasions and one of the most classic ones in Italy has always been the day after Easter: “pasquetta” to be precise.
This is one of the unmissable picnic appointments to experience conviviality and nature in one pleasant solution.
However, I propose organising a rather special picnic: unconventional, free and romantic. As much as I love the traditional picnic, I think time has come to go further and rethink it with a bolder style and a twist of relaxed and informal elegance, casual but refined.
Bohemian Italian style.
Planning a picnic with a vaguely bohemian style means bringing out our more eclectic side by joining and mixing a variety of patterns, colours, and accessories. A style that can easily be achieved by focusing on a vintage atmosphere, a touch of extravagance and a few simple romantic details having a great effect combined with a personal character that will make the result extremely personal.
Forget the classic sets with covers in tartan patterns or checked fabrics. Even if they convey an extremely bucolic idea, they could seem rather banal. Instead, the perfect backdrop (and the one that gets the most compliments) will be carpets, tapestries, and colourful quilts together with lots of cushions – in short, everything you would not expect to find in the shade of a big tree on a warm, relaxing day.
Tables and seating
The support surfaces to enjoy our day outdoors can be made in various ways, I personally recommend mixing low tables of various sizes (those we have in the living room for example) with classic fruit crates, the wooden ones, placed upside down and matched with trays in wicker, rattan or any other material but with slightly high edges for a greater stability of the objects placed on them. In cases like this, it is best to opt for versatile supports with small dimensions and they are very useful for supporting food and decorations and, at the same time, are easy to move if necessary.
A self-respecting picnic requires sitting on the ground, so free rein to cushions of various shapes and fabrics, the easiest and most refined way to add style and comfort to our outdoor conviviality space.
The extra touch? If your means of transport is roomy enough, load some poufs, upholstered stools, or mini armchairs. A real treat!
Creating a picnic like this means feeling free and embracing the natural elements around you. So, do not be afraid to add fun, and interesting and slightly unpredictable materials to your composition. Cutlery, for example, can all be placed together and displayed in an old drawer taken from the cupboard at home. Plates and cups will make a great impression if you choose to mix and match the various sets while maintaining a minimum common thread (like a floral design) and mixing shapes and colours.
A floral touch
If you want to create an absolutely romantic and wonderful corner, choose a mix of wildflowers, garden roses, large-crowned flowers and small branches to try and create compositions of different heights. Glass bottles of various sizes and colourful jars, including vintage ones, will be perfect to display flowers, while wildflowers and all bushy compositions will be perfect if collected in wicker baskets found in the country home. Do not be afraid to overdo it. This irreverent look allows mixing and matching very different elements easily, creating a versatile and fun environment full of unique details.
My advice is to keep it simple by serving traditional (and delicious) food while maintaining class and elegance. To do so, a great idea is using elegant ceramic and glassware sets and forget the disposables that are awful for the environment and for style as well.
The classic of Italian classics includes savoury pies, omelettes, and lasagne, all of which, according to classic Italian etiquette, should be eaten using just a fork. And this is exactly what you should bear in mind when choosing your menu: dishes that are perfect to prepare in advance, excellent to eat cold and easy to serve on the spot. To complete it all, choose fresh, seasonal produce, fruit and vegetables that are easy to prepare, delicious to taste and extremely decorative for your magnificent table setting.
Remember that arranging food in a visually appealing way also tickles the senses and immediately puts everyone in a good mood. Lastly, perfect the menu proposal with water, wine, juices for the children and, for that extra appealing touch, add a fresh and fragrant cocktail, served in the right glass of course.